Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter arrived in North Korea today on a mission to secure the release of an American citizen who has been detained for seven months for illegal entry.
Carter was greeted at Pyongyang airport by North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, state-run Korean Central News Agency said. North Korea has agreed to release Aijalon Mahli Gomes if Carter visits the country, the Associated Press reported yesterday, citing U.S. officials it didn’t identify.
Gomes was sentenced to eight years of hard labor in April after he was captured on Jan. 25 for illegally crossing the border from China, KCNA has said. The 31-year-old Boston resident attempted suicide last month because he felt his government hadn’t done enough to get him free, KCNA reported.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang and met with Kim last August, winning the release of two U.S. journalists arrested in March 2009 for illegal entry. Kim Kye Gwan, who is also the chief negotiator to the international talk on the North’s nuclear program, also greeted Clinton at the airport at the time.
JIMMY CARTER TO VISIT NORTH KOREA