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article imageFormer US president Carter says would travel to Pyongyang: report

By AFP     Oct 22, 2017 in Politics

Former US president Jimmy Carter says he has offered to go to North Korea on behalf of the White House to try to allay rising tensions, but has not been asked, the New York Times reported Sunday.

"I would go, yes," Carter told the Times in an interview at his home when asked if he would go on such a trip for the Donald Trump administration.

The 93-year-old Democrat, who was president from 1977 to 1981, said he had told the Republican president's National Security Advisor HR McMaster that he "was available if they ever need me."

In 1994 Carter had traveled to Pyongyang to negotiate with Kim Il-sung, the current leader's grandfather, over the North's nuclear program, the Times said.

In recent months President Trump has engaged in an escalating war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, trading personal insults and threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the United States.

Asked about the verbal attacks, Carter told the Times he is "afraid, too, of a situation."

"I don't know what they'll do," he said of the North Koreans. "Because they want to save their regime."

Calling Kim Jong-Un "unpredictable," Carter said he worried the young leader could take pre-emptive action.

"I think he's now got advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the Korean Peninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland," Carter said.

In recent months, the North has conducted a series of missile launches and its sixth nuclear test, its most powerful yet, in defiance of multiple rounds of UN sanctions.

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