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Remarks on the Release of Bobby Hall by North Korea and an Exchange With Reporters

December 29, 1994

The President. Good evening. I have just spoken with Army Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Hall. He's crossed the Demilitarized Zone to freedom. He's safe. His medical condition is currently being evaluated. But we had a good visit, and he said he was feeling well.

Chief Warrant Officer Hall was held for too long after his helicopter strayed off course on a routine training mission. But we are very glad that he has been released and is now in freedom.

Earlier this evening, I called his wife, Donna, to tell her that he would be released and how pleased we all were. I know that all Americans join me in sharing the Halls' happiness that they and their loved ones will now be able to be together and celebrate New Year's, reunited as a family.

At the same time, I know I can speak for all Americans in saying that we, once again, send our deep condolences to the family of Chief Warrant Office David Hilemon, who died in the same incident. So as we welcome the release of Chief Warrant Officer Hall we must also remember the supreme sacrifice and the service made by his comrade in arms.

We wish all the families our best. We thank them all for their service and their devotion of our country. We wish them Godspeed in the new year.

Thank you very much.

Q. Mr. President, can you tell us, sir, what the United States may have given up in this deal? And the fact that the agreement signed talks about future contacts with the North, was that a concession to the North, and does that cut out South Korea?

The President. No. And the briefings will make that clear. The terms of the agreement are clear from their own words. And we were faithful to all of our commitments to our allies and to our commitments to our own policy.

And I want to thank the team that worked very hard on this. They did a very good job. They performed with dedication, with great discipline, and I'm very pleased by the way it was handled.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:50 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on the Release of Bobby Hall by North Korea and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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