Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Benin feels the pinch of Nigeria's economic woes

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Deutsche Bank shares recover after turbulent week

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Inside Aleppo: 'Feels like prison'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The Legacy of Shimon Peres, The Battle of Aleppo (Part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump-Clinton Debate, Colombia Peace Deal, Death of the BlackBerry (Part 2)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Backstage at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FASHION

Paris Fashion Week: Saint Laurent, Lanvin, present new designers

Read more

#THE 51%

Online and proud: Iranian women use social media in a campaign for equality

Read more

#TECH 24

Say hello to Pepper!

Read more

Asia-pacific

Carter seeks US teacher's release on North Korea mission

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-25

Former US president Jimmy Carter has arrived in North Korea on a mission to negotiate the release of an American teacher who was sentenced to eight years of hard labour for entering the country illegally.

REUTERS - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in North Korea on Wednesday to try to win the release of an American jailed for illegally entering the reclusive state, media reports said.

The visit comes amid heightened tensions on the peninsula after the torpedoing in March of a South Korean warship, which Seoul blames on the North and which prompted Washington to announce expanded sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korea's KCNA news agency said Carter and his group arrived in Pyongyang and was met at the airport by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, who represents Pyongyang at six-way nuclear disarmament talks that had been on hold for two years.

Carter, 85, and his wife flew in a private jet and not a U.S. military plane, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said earlier, quoting a U.S. diplomatic source.

A U.S. official said on Tuesday that Carter would travel to the North on a private humanitarian mission to secure the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who has been sentenced by the North to eight years hard labour.

Gomes, 30, tried to commit suicide out of despair, the North's state media said last month.

Gomes, who KCNA said was from Boston, crossed into the North in January carrying a letter calling on leader Kim Jong-il to repent his sins and step down, a South Korean religious activist who had met him has said.

Gomes had been teaching English in Seoul for about two years before making the trip to North Korea. He was also active in Protestant churches, his colleagues said.

Former President Bill Clinton made a similar humanitarian trip last year, winning the release of two journalists also jailed for illegally entering the North.

Clinton's trip was followed by dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington marking an end to a series of provocations by the North and briefly easing tensions in the region.

South Korean media have reported the North wants Washington to send an envoy to discuss improving ties, including the resumption of stalled six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

Both Washington and Seoul have said Pyongyang must first admit responsibility for the sinking of the warship before they will consider returning to the talks.

 

Date created : 2010-08-25

  • DIPLOMACY

    US envoy in Seoul to discuss new North Korea sanctions

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    US-South Korean war games a threat to peace, says North

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    Washington urges China to press North Korea

    Read more

COMMENT(S)