"I think that if the United States wants to find out about the limits to which North Korea might go, then direct bilateral discussions at a higher level would be appropriate," Carter said Monday during a visit to South Korea.
The United States also should insist that South Korea be present for top-level talks, Carter said in an interview with Rep. Hong Jung-wook, a former publisher of The Korea Herald.
Carter said he believes North Korea is willing to abandon its atomic weapons programs, despite its withdrawal last year from six-party negotiations with the United States, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China.
Ultimately, North Korea must agree, however, to abide by the conditions of of a 2005 agreement, reached through six-party talks, to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, Carter said in a story published Tuesday by The Herald.
Carter was in South Korea to give talks on peace between the Koreas.