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Jimmy Carter offers to head North Korea nuke talks for Trump

Jimmy Carter in conversation at the LBJ Library on February 15, 2011. (Charles Bogel/U.S. National Archives)
March 08, 2019

Former President Jimmy Carter could be an unexpected supplement in the denuclearization discussions with North Korea.

Carter has offered to travel to North Korea and get involved with denuclearization talks after the talks have come to a stalemate following the recent summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, Politico reported Thursday.

Carter met with Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna in Atlanta, Ga. on Thursday, during which he told the congressman that he would be willing to assist President Trump in the negotiations with North Korea if the president wanted it.

Carter, 94, noted that although he does not travel, he would be willing to for the important diplomatic mission.

Rep. Khanna, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and its subpanel on intelligence and emerging threats, said the meeting with Carter inspired him to consider his own role in negotiations with North Korea.

Khanna now plans to amend a 12-point denuclearization strategy facilitated by Carter and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung.

“The fact that Carter is willing to engage Kim Jong Un is a good thing,” Khanna said, adding that it could garner a foreign policy success for Trump while garnering support from Democrats in Congress.

Robert Malley, a former Obama administration conflict and foreign policy specialist, has also agreed to join any Carter-North Korea talks.

“The administration faces real dilemmas about how to move forward,” Malley told Politico. “That makes it a good time to take a step back and talk to those who have experience on this issue and on dealing with North Korea. President Carter fits that description. He’s dealt with North Korea’s leadership at the highest level more than almost any American. So, yes, it would make a lot of sense for the Trump administration to talk to him.”

This is the second time Carter has offered to help with denuclearization talks with North Korea.

In Oct. 2017, Carter told the New York Times that he talked with then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and offered to head the sensitive talks with North Korea – in person – despite his differences with Trump.

“I would go, yes,” he said. “I told him that I was available if they ever need me.”

He added that he was afraid of a potential conflict with the unpredictable nature of Kim, and the heavy influence from China.

Kim remains unpredictable even now, as he has vowed to end North Korea’s missile program in exchange for the U.S. lifting its sanctions, yet ongoing activities have been observed at several missile sites.

Trump and Kim met in Hanoi, Vietnam for a two-day summit last week, which came to an abrupt end without a deal, despite anticipation of a possible end-of-war declaration for the Korean War or a clear path toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump later told reporters that the meeting ended because of disagreements over sanctions.

“Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that,” Trump said. “Sometimes you have to walk, and this was one of those times.”