Former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrived in Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Tuesday.
Clinton was greeted by Yang Hyong Sop, vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan after his chartered plane touched down at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport at 12:00 p.m. local time (0300 GMT).
A DPRK girl presented a bouquet of flowers to the former U.S. president.
Clinton did not answer any questions asked by reporters and left the airport immediatedly. The DPRK had toughened security for Clinton's arrival, with policemen blocking the road 8 km away from the airport.
DPRK officials also declined to reveal the purpose and schedule of his visit, but South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the former U.S. president came here for negotiations to seek the release of two detained American journalists.
"Former President Clinton is en route to Pyongyang," the Yonhap news agency said in an early report, quoting an informed source as saying. "As soon as he arrives there, he will begin negotiations for the release of the journalists."
The DPRK's highest court sentenced in June two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, to 12 years of what it calls "reform through labor."
The two, who worked for the San Francisco-based Current TV co-founded by former U.S. vice president Al Gore, were captured on March 17 for allegedly crossing the DPRK border from China and committing "hostile actions" against the country.
Pyongyang had no diplomatic relations with Washington so far. Clinton is the highest-profile American to visit the DPRK after his own secretary of state Madeleine Albright met with DPRK top leader Kim Jong Il in 2000.
New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, in his trips to Pyongyang in the 1990s, succeeded persuading the DPRK to release a detained American.
(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2009)