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Jimmy Carter to visit DPRK to free American prisoner

[ 2010-08-25 11:52]     字号 [] [] []  
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Former US president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter may arrive in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in days to secure the release of an American serving eight years of hard labor there, Foreign Policy magazine said.

"Jimmy Carter is set to travel to North Korea very soon, according to two sources familiar with the former president's plans, in what they characterized as a private mission to free a US citizen imprisoned there," the magazine said on its website.

Carter, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, is planning to leave "within days," it said.

CNN cited two unnamed senior administration officials saying Carter's trip was expected possibly as soon as Tuesday.

The White House declined to confirm the trip, but a senior administration official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said "anyone going would do so as a private humanitarian effort."

The United States has repeatedly voiced concern about the health of Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who was jailed for illegally crossing the country's border with China.

Gomes, a 30-year-old former English teacher in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and reportedly a devout Christian, was arrested in January. He was sentenced in April and fined the equivalent of $700,000.

A US team traveled to Pyongyang earlier this month to evaluate Gomes, but was unable to secure his release.

DPRK state media said in July that Gomes tried to commit suicide and was being treated in a hospital.

Gomes was "driven by his strong guilty conscience, disappointment and despair at the US government that has not taken any measure for his freedom," KCNA, the state's official news agency said.

The Foreign Policy report said that Carter, 86, would be traveling as a private citizen, similar to the mission carried out by former president Bill Clinton last year when he secured the release of American television journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee who were also jailed after wandering across the DPRK border with China.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Jimmy Carter to visit DPRK to free American prisoner

About the broadcaster:

Jimmy Carter to visit DPRK to free American prisoner

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.