Posted August. 25, 2010 08:08,
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will leave for North Korea Tuesday (local time) as a U.S. envoy to ask for the release of an American detained in the North, a high-ranking U.S. official said Monday.
The North has detained Aijalon Mahli Gomes for illegally entering the communist country in January. Pyongyang, however, is known to have promised to release him if Carter visits the North Korean capital.
The Associated Press quoted an anonymous high-ranking official in the U.S. administration Monday as saying Carter will leave for Pyongyang Tuesday and return home with Gomes after staying one night.
The quarterly magazine Foreign Policy also said Carter will visit Pyongyang within several days and likely be accompanied by his wife and daughter.
To make clear that the purpose of the former presidents visit is Gomes safe return, Washington will exclude U.S. administration officials from the delegation.
This will be Carters second visit to Pyongyang and the third by a former U.S. president. In the first North Korean nuclear crisis in June 1994, he went there to meet the communist countrys leader at the time Kim Il Sung.
In August last year, former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited the North to get two American journalists released.
The U.S. notified South Korea of Carters forthcoming trip and explained that the visit has no relation to additional sanctions on the North set for release soon. How the visit will impact the implementation of the sanctions is drawing attention, however.