Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says the Bush administration is at fault for the collapse of a 1994 agreement with North Korea about its nuclear weapons program.
In an interview with Bloomberg news agency, Mr. Carter said it is incorrect to say Pyongyang cheated on the agreement, under which Pyongyang agreed to freeze its nuclear weapons program, put its spent fuel rods in cold storage and allow international nuclear inspectors into the country.
Mr. Carter said the United States effectively abandoned the agreement in 2002 when President Bush labeled North Korea as part of a so-called "axis of evil" along with Iran and Iraq.
The former president, who now heads a peace and human rights organization in the southern United States, called for direct talks between the United States and North Korea, something the U.S. has shunned in the past.
North Korea agreed this week to return to six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear program. The talks have been stalled for a year.