Carter to visit DPRK for release of U.S. man: magazine
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter will soon visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to negotiate the release of a U.S. man detained there for illegal entry, the Foreign Policy magazine reported Monday, Xinhua reported.
Carter has decided to make the trip, which will take place "within days," the magazine's website said in an exclusive report, quoting two sources familiar with the travel plan.
The man, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, 31, was detained by the DPRK on Jan. 25, 2010 for entering the country illegally. On April 6, he was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment and a fine of about 700,000 U.S. dollars. Gomes' healthy situation reportedly has been worsening.
On Aug. 2, the Obama administration ruled out the possibilities of sending a special envoy to the DPRK for the release of Gomes.
But Carter will travel in his capacity as a private citizen, and no U.S. government officials will accomany him, the report said, adding "the Obama administration wants desperately to avoid conflating the trip with its current stance" toward the DPRK.
The Carter visit "should not be seen as a change in U.S. policy toward Pyongyang," the report quoted U.S. experts as saying.