Former President Jimmy Carter’s mission to North Korea was successful.
An American activist imprisoned since January in North Korea was released early Friday and permitted to return to the United States, following a rescue mission by former president Jimmy Carter.
Aijalon Mahli Gomes departed Pyongyang with Carter; they are expected to land in Boston on Friday afternoon.
North Korea’s state-run news agency described the pardon as “a manifestation of [North Korea’s] humanitarianism and peace-loving policy.”
According to the news agency, Carter apologized for Gomes’s behavior. In January, Gomes illegally entered North Korea from China. He was fined $700,000 and sentenced to eight years of hard labor.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement that “we welcome the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes and are relieved that he will soon be safely reunited with his family. We appreciate former President Carter’s humanitarian effort and welcome North Korea’s decision to grant Mr. Gomes special amnesty.”
Crowley added that “President Carter’s trip was a private, humanitarian, and unofficial mission solely for the purpose of bringing Mr. Gomes home.”
This is getting to be a regular gig for North Korea. Some American steps over the line, they grab them, make a big fuss, we send some eminence gris in to get them released, apologize profusely, go home, end of story until the next one. I get the feeling that when Kim Jong Il feels the world isn’t paying enough attention to them, they do something like this to say, “Hey, lookit me!”
Well, I suppose it’s better than setting off a nuclear bomb.
(PS: I haven’t checked, but I’m sure some right-winger is blogging, “They should have kept Carter and released Gomes.” Ha ha.)