U.S. confirms Jimmy Carter in DPRK for release of U.S. citizen

08:32, August 26, 2010      

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The United States State Department confirmed Wednesday that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to secure the release of an imprisoned U.S. citizen.

Carter arrived in Pyongyang, the capital of DPRK, on Wednesday aboard a civilian jet and met Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of DPRK.

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

Carter's visit to Pyongyang is aimed to negotiate the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes who was detained by the DPRK on Jan. 25, 2010 for entering the country illegally. On April 6, Gomes was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment and a fine of about 700,000 U.S. dollars.

Private visit by former U.S. official had been used in the past to release U.S. citizens hold by DPRK.

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

After U.S. former President Bill Clinton paid a visit to Pyongyang last Aug., in which he met with the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong-Il, Pyongyang announced the release.

"The fact that former President Jimmy Carter is going to North Korea is interesting. It shows the administration is willing to have some kind of contact with the DPRK," said Michael Green, an expert on Korean peninsular affairs at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"But I don't think they have very high expectations for any diplomatic breakthrough," he told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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