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    » 08/25/2010, 00.00


    Jimmy Carter in Pyongyang to seek release of US prisoner

    Mahle Aijalon Gomes is accused of having entered the country illegally and was sentenced to a fine of 700 thousand dollars and 8 years in a labour camp. Last month he attempted suicide. North Korea had invited Carter also to reduce tensions with the South and the U.S..

    Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, is travelling to Pyongyang on a private mission to seek the release of an American prisoner. According to the South Korean agency Yonhap, Carter and his wife are travelling on a private jet and not a U.S. military plane.

    The humanitarian action of the former president is an attempt to free Aijalon Mahle Gomes, 30, sentenced by the Pyongyang regime to eight years' hard labour and fined 700 thousand dollars for entering the country illegally. According to media reports of the North, last month Gomes attempted suicide in despair.

    Last year, former President Bill Clinton made a similar trip, managing to free two U.S. journalists arrested for illegal entry.

    Carter's visit comes at a time of high tensions between North and South, after the sinking of the Cheonan warship by the North, leading to tougher sanctions on Pyongyang.

    According to diplomatic sources, North Korea facilitated the arrival of Carter to improve relations and reopen the six-party nuclear disarmament talks. But for the resumption of talks Washington and Seoul are demanding that Pyongyang admits its responsibility in the sinking of the Cheonan.  

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    See also

    13/06/2005 SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA
    South Korea's Roh "very sure" nuclear talks will resume
    In his recent meeting with George Bush, Roh insisted on the need to offer Pyongyang concrete proposals rather than threaten it with international sanctions.

    27/08/2010 NORTH KOREA - CHINA
    Carter in Pyongyang, American Christian freed
    Aijalon Mahle Gomes, 30, was arrested in January and sentenced to eight years in prison for illegally entering the country. The visit of former President unblocks the situation, and the regime declares it is ready to resume six-party talks on nuclear disarmament. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-il’s visit to China continues.

    10/12/2009 KOREA - UNITED STATES
    Swine Flu: Pyongyang accepts South’s "unconditional" offer to contain pandemic
    North Korea has accepted the offer of medical supplies and confirmed nine cases of infection. Closure of primary and secondary schools. South Korea NGO reports seven deaths from H1N1. Ended of three-day visit by U.S. diplomat to Pyongyang.

    27/07/2009 KOREA
    Pyongyang ready for new talks, but with the U.S.
    According to the North Korean ambassador to the UN, the terms of the 6 party talks - started in 2003 – have expired. Washington and Seoul reaffirm that the 6 party talks are the only way forward for the regime now isolated from everyone.

    28/11/2006 CHINA – NORTH KOREA
    A year later Kim Jong-il's negotiator is back in Beijing
    US, Russian, South Korean and Japanese representatives are already in the Chinese capital. Tokyo rules out multilateral dialogue whilst Washington sees direct talks with Pyongyang possible.

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