Laura Ling is the sister of talk show host Lisa Ling. She's a journalist that crossed the border of North Korea in March 2009 and is now...

by Free Britney at . Comments

Laura Ling and Euna Lee are safely back on American soil, a day after the two American journalists were released from custody in North Korea.

"We're home and free," Ling said in her first comments after landing.

Lee, 36, and Ling, 32, came back with former president Bill Clinton, who met with North Korea's leader Kim Jong II and helped secure a pardon for the two women, who were sentenced to 12 years for illegally entering the country.

They flew home on a private plane owned by Steve Bing, a wealthy Clinton friend and donor (and reported former boyfriend of Jennifer Aniston) who is the owner of Shangri-La Entertainment, which owns the Boeing 737.

After departing Pyongyang, North Korea, their plane touched down shortly before 6 a.m. at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California.

Family members there to greet them included Ling's husband Iain Clayton, her parents, her sister Lisa Ling and Lisa's husband Paul Song. From the Lee family were Lee's husband Michael Saldate, and 4-year-old daughter Hana.

At 6:16 a.m. the two journalists deplaned and both separately embraced their families in what could only be categorized as highly emotional reunions.

"We're going to let these families have a proper and full reunion," former Vice President Al Gore, who was also instrumental in their return, later said.

Bill Clinton chose not to speak, but released a statement.

"I am very happy that after this long ordeal, Laura Ling and Euna Lee are now home and reunited with their loved ones," it read.

"When their families, Vice President Gore and the White House asked that I undertake this humanitarian mission, I agreed. I share a deep sense of relief with Laura and Euna and their families that they are safely home."

by Hilton Hater at . Comments

On March 17, American journalist Laura Ling was arrested by North Korean military on the Chinese border.

Now comes to the really troubling news: following her and friend Euna Lee's June 4 trial for alleged "hostile acts," Ling - whose sister Lisa is a talk show host - has been sentence to 12 years in a North Korea labor camp.

As first reported by CNN, the Korean Central News Agency says the women will be serving time "for the grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing."

The U.S. State Department has not given up hope of their return home, however. Said spokesman Ian Kelley in a statement:

"We are deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities, and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release. We once again urge North Korea to grant the immediate release of the two American citizen journalists on humanitarian grounds."

Lisa Ling (pictured, on the left, with her sister above), meanwhile, has said she hopes this tragic situation can at least enable the U.S. and North Korea to move forward with diplomatic talks:

"We would champion the opportunity to have these girls be the catalyst for diplomacy. I think it could be really amazing. The problem right now is that our two countries don't have a diplomatic relationship and so communication has been really limited. We are trying to encourage our two countries to come together and if this is the reason why they do, then we'll take it.

Laura Ling Biography

Laura Ling is the sister of talk show host Lisa Ling. She's a journalist that crossed the border of North Korea in March 2009 and is now... More »
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Laura Ling
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