Carter says hopes to meet North Korea leader and son

April 26, 2011 - 0:0

BEIJING (Reuters) – Former President Jimmy Carter said on Monday he hopes to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his son and presumed heir during a visit this week that will concentrate on Pyongyang's nuclear program and foodaid needs.

The Nobel Peace prize winner is leading a delegation of former state leaders -- The Elders -- on a three-day visit to the secretive state, which is under wide-ranging international sanctions.
“I don't know with whom we'll be meeting in North Korea. We would like very much to meet with Kim Jong-il and also Kim Jong-un,” Carter told a news conference in Beijing, referring to the leader's son and handpicked successor.
“We have no indication that we will do so, but it would be a pleasure if we could do so,” he added.
“Concerning the nuclear issue, we will report as accurately as we can after we visit North Korea of what they had to say, but we're not pre-judging in advance what our experiences in Pyongyang will be.”
North Korea quit six-party nuclear talks involving it, the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia, in 2009 after new UN sanctions following the North's second nuclear and long-range missile tests.
Carter, in 1994, brokered a deal which pulled Washington and Pyongyang back from the brink of war over the North's nuclear program.
But he said he was not going in as anyone's envoy.
“The Elders are not in a position to negotiate, we're not mediators. We're going to learn what we can and share what we find with the leaders with whom we have contact in the future.”
Their visit comes as the six-party envoys step up their shuttle diplomacy to search for ways to restart nuclear talks. China's representative Wu Dawei will visit Seoul on Tuesday.
The main regional powers agree inter-Korean dialogue must precede the resumption of regional nuclear talks.