News / Asia

Carter in North Korea, Expected to Bring Home Jailed American

North Korea says former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has arrived in Pyongyang. He is there to try to gain the release of an American imprisoned for illegally entering the reclusive country.

Mr. Carter whose plane landed in Pyongyang Wednesday afternoon, was greeted by the country's top nuclear envoy, Kim Kye Gwan.  He hopes to return home with Aijalon Mahli Gomes, a former English teacher in South Korea who was arrested after crossing into North Korea in January.

Acquaintances say Gomes may have been inspired by an American missionary who made a similar trip. Both were involved with a Christian evangelical group, Pax Koreana, which focuses on human rights in North Korea.

The group's head, Jo Sung-rae, has mixed feeling about Mr. Carter's visit.

Jo says North Korea got what it wanted by using Gomes. He says Pyongyang wanted a visit by the higher profile Mr. Carter rather than Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who is governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico.

U.S. officials have hesitated to comment directly about the visit, saying they do not want to jeopardize a humanitarian mission. They have stressed, however, that the 85-year-old former president travels to North Korea as a private citizen.

North Korea sentenced Gomes to eight years of hard labor and fined him the equivalent of $700,000. A State Department team went to Pyongyang earlier this month in an unsuccessful attempt to secure his release.

Former President Bill Clinton traveled to Pyongyang last year to bring home two American journalists who also were jailed for illegally entering the country.

And earlier this year, North Korea released Robert Park, the American missionary who entered the country on December 25, 2009, after holding him for more than six weeks.

During a visit to Pyongyang in 1994, former President Carter defused rapidly escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula because of North Korea's nuclear weapons development. His trip led to Pyongyang's promise to halt the weapons program in return for energy aid and other benefits from the United States, South Korea and Japan.

The agreement later collapsed, in part because of U.S. reports in 2002 that North Korea was still pursuing nuclear weapons, and Pyongyang's complaints that promised nuclear power plants had not been built.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are again high. An international investigation blames a North Korean torpedo for the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in March. Forty-six South Korean sailors died in the incident. Pyongyang denies any involvement. (

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid