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Former US President Jimmy Carter 'offers to hold peace talks with North Korea'

Mr Carter's suggestion could anger Donald Trump 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Tuesday 10 October 2017 23:11 BST
Former US President Jimmy Carter
Former US President Jimmy Carter (Getty Images for Canadian Americ)

Former US President Jimmy Carter is said to have offered to engage in peace talks with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un over the regime's expanding nuclear and ballistic weapons programme.

The 93-year-old is reportedly even willing to travel to Pyongyang to prevent war – a suggestion that is likely to upset Donald Trump.

“Carter wants to meet with the North Korean leader and play a constructive role for peace on the Korean Peninsula as he did in 1994,” Park Han-shik, a professor at the University of Georgia, told South Korea’s JoongAng Daily newspaper.

Mr Park, who met with Mr Carter, is the professor emeritus at the university's School of Public & International Affairs.

“Should former President Carter be able to visit North Korea, he would like to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discuss a peace treaty between the United States and the North, and a complete denuclearisation of North Korea,” Mr Park added.

Mr Carter’s recent comments on North Korea have angered the White House, which last month reportedly asked him not to speak publicly about the crisis with North Korea, possibly fearing he could undermine Mr Trump.

Media reports said a senior US state department official had visited Mr Carter at his home in Georgia to deliver the President’s request.

Tensions between the US and North Korea have escalated in recent months as the Trump administration has worked to rein in the isolated nation’s nuclear weapons programme.

The United Nations Security Council has continued to ratchet up sanctions against North Korea, but to no avail.

In September, speaking at an event after the Security Council placed new sanctions on North Korean oil and textile exports, Mr Carter said: “I would send my top person to Pyongyang immediately, if I didn't go myself.”

The former President has visited North Korea three times on diplomatic missions.

Mr Carter also emphasised that North Korea wants assurances that the US will not attack them unprovoked; that any US strike would only be a response to an attack on the the US or an ally.

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