Former President Jimmy Carter, who in 1994 brought North Korea to the table to negotiate an arms control deal it later refused to live by, is offering his services to President Donald Trump as Trump prepares for a May meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In an interview with CBS’ “Sunday Morning,” scheduled to be broadcast Sunday, Carter noted that he has had about 20 hours of talks with North Korean leaders due to the interventions he launched during the administration of former President Bill Clinton.
“And I understand what they want and need,” Carter told CBS.
Carter said the White House has kept him informed about the progress of its diplomatic stance on North Korea.
“And just this week, I had a representative from the White House who came down and gave me the latest developments with North Korea,” Carter said in the interview.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Carter said that his contacts with the White House preceded Kim’s request to meet with Trump, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I had made arrangements last week with the White House to have some experts come down and give me an up-to-date briefing on what’s going on concerning North Korea,” Carter told his Sunday school class in early March.
“They came down the day that Kim Jong Un invited Trump to come over. So we had a lot to talk about.”
The 93-year-old president had formerly questioned the value of Trump’s bellicose rhetoric regarding North Korea, but said he wants to help achieve a successful outcome.
“I have had some criticisms of some of the public statements that President Trump has made about ‘fire and brimstone’ and that sort of thing being utilized,” Carter told CBS. Trump has “reacted quite well” to North Korea’s request for talks, he added.
Carter has made it clear that his goal is to achieve a stable peace.
“If we could avoid a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, that would be a wonderful achievement,” Carter told his Sunday school class. “It’s good we’re going to be talking to them.”
Last year, Carter made overtures to former national security adviser H. R. McMaster regarding a role in bridging the gap between North Korea and the United States, The New York Times reported in October.
“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he said.
Carter’s 1994 meeting to develop a nuclear arms treaty took place with Kim Il Sung, grandfather to the current North Korean leader.
If Trump’s scheduled meeting takes place, it will be the first face-to-face meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
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