The news stories say Bill didn't do the negotiations himself, the State Dept. did, and the big thing Kim Jong-Il got was a chance to save face by releasing the two American women and having a former U.S. president come by on what was treated as a state visit. Victor Cha says NK's MO is to go out on a ledge and sometimes they have to be helped off it, Whatever, it's hard to be anything but pleased that the two are out of NK. As mentioned before, the hard labor camps are horrific. Word is that Kim didn't want the issue of the two captives to be a distraction in future negotiations over nukes. That assume negotiations are in the future.
I don't know why we don't just offer a non-aggression promise and restore normal diplomatic relations. NK, perhaps more so after Kim's death, is trying clumsi;y to get reconnected with the larger world. Give them diplomat9ic relations and nothing else -- espoecially not anguished attention to their every attention-getting action. It's a pipsqueak country and having nukes doesn't change that. Save the anguish for a real threat -- except that the U.S. doesn't really face one worth mobilizing about and is unlikely to, and political leaders thrive on the appearance oif threats.