Via The Politico:
Former President Jimmy Carter is traveling to North Korea this week on a mission to lay the groundwork for nuclear disarmament talks and “would like very much” to meet with leader Kim Jong Il.
“We have no indication that we will do so, but it would be a pleasure if we could,” Carter said of meeting with Kim and his heir apparent son, Kim Jong Un. His remarks, reported by The Associated Press and Reuters, came Monday at a news conference in Beijing ahead of his Tuesday departure to Pyongyang with three other retired world leaders — former Finnish President Martti Ahtissari, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland and former Irish President Mary Robinson.
“We will report as accurately as we can after we visit North Korea of what they had to say” on their nuclear program, Carter said. “But we’re not prejudging in advance what our experiences in Pyongyang will be.”
North Korea backed out of six-party negotiations on its nuclear program after the United Nations issued new sanctions against the country in 2009. Carter and his travel companions — from a group of retired leaders called the Elders, formed by former South African President Nelson Mandela — are hoping to spark discussions on returning to talks.
“The Elders are not in a position to negotiate; we’re not mediators,” Carter said. “We’re going to learn what we can and share what we find with the leaders with whom we have contact in the future.”
The term “Useful Idiot” couldn’t be more fitting.