DPRK leader meets former U.S. president Carter

22:18, August 25, 2010      

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Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), met former U.S. president Jimmy Carter here Wednesday, the official KCNA news agency reported.

They had "a cordial talk," and Kim arranged a reception in honor for Carter, the KCNA said.

Carter arrived here Wednesday afternoon aboard a chartered civilian jet. His trip is reportedly aimed at securing the release of an imprisoned U.S. citizen.

Carter was greeted by DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan at the Pyongyang international airport.

Carter received a bouquet from a little girl, and blew a kiss to her with a smile.

Without any speech to reporters and the crowd at the airport, he swiftly got into a car and left.

Reporters present from the DPRK, China and Russia were provided with a temporary shelf to stand on but couldn't get close to Carter.

U.S. media has said Carter will visit Pyongyang to negotiate the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who was detained by the DPRK on Jan. 25 for illegal entry into the country.

On April 6, Gomes, a 30-year-old former English teacher in South Korea, was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment and fined about 700,000 U.S. dollars.

Media reports said Carter might spend one night in Pyongyang and return with Gomes Thursday.

The Obama administration Tuesday refused to comment on the visit, saying Washington had no plan to send an envoy to Pyongyang and would continue to evaluate Gomes' situation through Swedish diplomats there and negotiate his release with Pyongyang.

Carter, a Nobel peace laureate, is said to be traveling as a private citizen, similar to that by former U.S. President Bill Clinton last August when he secured the release of two female U.S. journalists detained there for illegal entry.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who worked for Current TV, co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore, were arrested in March 2009, for illegally crossing the DPRK border from China and were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in June.

Following Clinton's visit, in which he met top DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, Pyongyang announced their release.

Carter, a Democrat, served as U.S. president from 1977 to 1981 and won the Nobel peace prize in 2002.

He made a historic trip to the DPRK in 1994 to help defuse a crisis over the country's nuclear program.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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