negotiations begin for euna lee and laura ling's release

According to The Chosun Ilbo, the U.S. and North Korea have started delicate negotiations over Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two American journalists who have been detained in North Korea since March. The next three or four weeks will be crucial in deciding whether they'll be set free.

According to a source in Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives intended last week to adopt a resolution urging the North to release Ling and Lee, and the Senate intended to follow suit, but their plans have been postponed at the State Department's request.

The State Department made the request to Congress because it fears that a resolution could anger the North at a time when the two countries have entered sensitive negotiations. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked the North to grant the two an amnesty and allow them to return home to their families.

According to other sources, John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former U.S. vice president Al Gore are being mentioned as possible special envoys to Pyongyang.

The U.S. government treats the release of the journalists is a separate issue from the North's nuclear provocations, but their release could lead to fresh nuclear talks. It's awful to think of Laura and Euna as chips on a bargaining table, but unfortunately, that's probably reality. Bring them home!

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