News / USA

Former President Carter Reportedly Heading to North Korea

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is reported to be going to Pyongyang this week to gain the release of an American jailed there after illegally entering the country. The State Department has not denied the reports but stresses Mr. Carter would be going in a private capacity on a humanitarian mission without any U.S. officials accompanying him. .

News reports say the 85-year-old former president is expected to return from North Korea with Aijalon Mahli Gomes.

The trip was first reported on the Web site of the journal Foreign Policy.

Gomes, a former English teacher in South Korea, was arrested after crossing into North Korea from China in January. Acquaintances here say he may have been inspired by an American missionary who made a similar trip out of concern about human rights in North Korea.

North Korea sentenced Gomes to eight years of hard labor and fined him the equivalent of $700,000. North Korea's state media last month reported he had attempted suicide. A four-person State Department team went to North Korea earlier this month in an unsuccessful attempt to secure his release.

Timothy Savage, the deputy director in Seoul for the Nautilus Institute, a public policy research group, says there may be more to Mr. Carter's visit than just winning the release of one American.

"I think that entirely depends on what kind of leeway Carter has been given by the White House to negotiate. When Clinton went he did pass on a message, but apparently there was very little follow-up in Washington," he said.

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

President Carter made a historic visit in 1994 to Pyongyang that led to an agreement for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons programs. The agreement defused rapidly escalating tensions that many at the time feared could lead to military conflict.

The deal collapsed, however, in part because of U.S. allegations 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, following the sinking in March of a South Korean navy ship. An international investigation blames a North Korean torpedo for the loss of the Cheonan, in which 46 South Korean sailors died. Pyongyang denies any involvement.

News of Mr. Carter's possible trip comes as China makes new efforts to resume multinational talks about North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry says Beijing's special envoy on Korean affairs will visit Seoul Thursday. Wu Dawei was in Pyongyang last week.

Savage at the Nautilus Institute says the timing of Mr. Carter's visit may be more than a coincidence.

"The fact that this is coming around the same time as these other diplomatic moves are going suggests to me that there may be something going on behind the scenes," he said.

The six-way talks have not been held since the North Korean delegation walked out 16 months ago. Besides China and North Korea, the other parties are South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid