March 25, 2011

Trip to North Korea: Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter is planning to travel to North Korea, perhaps as soon as April, the State Department said Thursday.

The department has been “made aware of the trip,” spokesman Mark Toner said, declining to offer any other details.

Carter’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for more information about the former president’s travel plans.

The confirmation came on the heels of a Wednesday report from South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that a trip was in the works and that former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Irish President Mary Robinson and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland may join Carter in his travels.

Officials in Seoul are paying close attention to the trip, South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Byung-Jae said Thursday. “All the communications currently under way for the visit are purely private talks … and the U.S. government also said his trip would be a personal visit.

Carter has traveled to the secretive communist country before. He visited Pyongyang in 1994 as an envoy for then-President Bill Clinton and helped defuse tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program. He also traveled there last summer to negotiate for the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes, an American teacher who entered the country in 2009 on a humanitarian and religious mission.

In November, Carter wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post urging the Obama administration to “consider responding” to Pyongyang’s deadly shelling of a South Korean island.

No comments:

Google Search

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes