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Carter begins N Korean trip over denuclearization

Former US president is trying to revive stalled talks on the North`s denuclearization.

Seoul: Former US President Jimmy Carter and three elder statesmen Tuesday began their three-day visit to North Korea amid a flurry of diplomatic efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and revive stalled international talks on the North`s nuclear weapons programs.

Carter arrived in Pyongyang via a chartered plane in the morning along with three former European heads of state --former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, former Norwegian
Prime Minister Dr Gro Brundtland and former Irish President
Mary Robinson.

The North`s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)
reported Carter`s arrival in a brief dispatch, but did not
elaborate on his schedule in Pyongyang.

The former leaders said in a statement in Beijing on
Monday that they "aim to see how we may be of assistance in
reducing tensions and help the parties address key issues including denuclearization."

Carter also expressed hope for a meeting with Kim and
his heir-apparent son, Kim Jong-un, though he said he has yet
to hear from North Korea whether such a meeting has been

The KCNA reported early Tuesday that the senior Kim
attended an art performance in Pyongyang along with his son
and other top officials, without elaborating on when the
performance was held.

Still, the Pyongyang-datelined report indicates that
the two Kims could be staying in the North Korean capital, a
development that may lead to Carter`s meeting with the
reclusive North Korean leader.
Carter has often acted as a diplomatic troubleshooter.
In 1994, he met with then-North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, the
late father of the current leader, and brokered a US-North
Korea nuclear deal that eventually unraveled.

Last August, Carter secured the freedom of a detained
American during his trip to Pyongyang, though he could not
meet with Kim Jong-il as the North Korean leader had traveled
to China for a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

It`s not clear whether Carter can bring home another
detained American during this week`s trip. Carter has said his
group does not have immediate plans for a meeting with North
Korean authorities on the possible release of Jun Young-su, a
detained American.
Jun is the fifth American detained by North Korea in
recent years. The North has released four Americans.
The trip comes amid a flurry of diplomatic moves by
regional powers to revive the six-party talks on the North`s
nuclear programs.

Top Chinese nuclear envoy Wu Dawei arrived in Seoul on
Tuesday for talks with his South Korean counterpart on ways to
resume the six-party nuclear talks involving the two Koreas,
the US, China, Japan and Russia.


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