North Korean leader Kim Jong II has pardoned two jailed American journalists after an unannounced meeting with former American president Bill Clinton.

The two journalists from California, Laura Ling (pictured at left) and Euna Lee (pictured at right) left Pyongyang Wednesday. They were released after over a four-month ordeal. The two were arrested near the North Korean-Chinese border in March and sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor, accused of illegal entry and engaging in "hostile acts."

Ling and Lee were arrested as they reported about the trafficking of women. Though it's unclear if they strayed into the North, or were caught by border guards who crossed into China, but recent statements suggest they admitted to deliberately crossing into the country.

Reports say the women's release was a proof og "humanitarian and peace-loving policy." Reports also say Clinton apologized on behalf of the women and brought along with him President Barack Obama's gratitude. This visit is said to "contribute to deepening the understanding" between North Korea and the United States.

[via MSNBC]