Clinton's North Korea trip may prove costly for the US

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Seoul, Aug.5 (ANI): An editorial in a South Korean daily has warned that North Korea could use the release of two American journalists as a direct bargaining chip with the United States in the near future.

"Regardless of what the US administration says, the Clinton-Kim meeting signals the start of direct bargaining... it is a matter of time when bilateral talks between the US and the North begin," Sky News quotes the editorial, as saying.

According to the editorial, this will be of huge concern to the people and the leaders of this vulnerable region.

The release of the two US television journalists from North Korea may be regarded as a triumph, but the reality is that the US may have to pay a high price for bringing the women home.

When Bill Clinton touched down in Pyongyang, he was seen as the man who could force the hand of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and orchestrate the release of the journalists.

But it later emerged that it was Kim Jong Il himself who had invited Clinton to Pyongyang and had guaranteed freedom for the reporters as long as the visit would not be linked to the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons.

North Korea's propaganda factory - working overtime - claimed Kim Jong Il had received a personal apology from the former U.S. President.

Clinton's team denied giving any apology, but the damage has already been done.

And while the White House continues to insist that this was "purely a private visit" by Bill Clinton, it emerged that he had been fully briefed by Obama's staff prior to the trip.

But most worryingly for the US State Department is the potential political fallout from this trip among America's allies in the region.

For nearly ten years North Korea has been demanding one-to-one talks with the United States. It has scrapped any plans to re-engage in joint meetings with Russia, Japan, China and South Korea.

Now the leaders of these countries will be waking up to images of a former US president sitting down in private with the leader of the rogue state.

There will be questions asked about what else Clinton discussed with Kim Jong Il beyond the fate of the two reporters and what North Korea may expect in return for their pardon. (ANI)

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