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Ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter wishes to visit N.K.: professor

2017/10/09 17:24

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wants to visit North Korea and hold talks with its leader Kim Jong-un to ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula that have been sparked by Pyongyang's recent nuclear and missile tests, a South Korea-born professor in the United States said.

Park Han-shik, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, said Sunday (local time) that Carter wants to play a role in resolving the serious situation, just as he did in 1994 during the Bill Clinton administration. Park said he met Carter last month at the 93-year-old American's residence in Georgia.

"To raise the credibility of his intentions, we talked about Carter sending his opinion on the current situation to the newspapers," Park said. "He did write an editorial, and his intention to visit Pyongyang has already been delivered to North Korean officials. We have yet to get answers from the North Koreans, but I'm sure they're giving it deep consideration."

   In his editorial published by the Washington Post on Oct. 4, Carter warned of another possible Korean war, and he wrote that the U.S. should consider sending a "high-level delegation" to North Korea for peace talks.

Park said Carter offered to help to current U.S. President Donald Trump several times, but did not get a positive response. According to Park, Trump told Carter that North Korea issue should be handled by the current administration, not by a former president.

Trump also reportedly told Carter to leave him alone, Park added.

The Georgia University professor said Carter doesn't specifically want to be a special envoy, although visiting North Korea with such position can give him more authority.

"We still have to watch North Korea's reaction," he said. "We might be able talk with Trump again if North Korea sends an official invitation. Should Trump steadfastly oppose the idea then we have to think about what we'll do next."

  

In this Sept. 15, 2016, file photo taken by the Associated Press, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaks at a Baptist conference in Atlanta. (Yonhap) In this Sept. 15, 2016, file photo taken by the Associated Press, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaks at a Baptist conference in Atlanta. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr

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