Carter urges direct talks with North Korea

March 23, 2010 at 10:42 AM
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SEOUL, March 23 (UPI) -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said the United States should consider direct talks with North Korea about denuclearization.

"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.

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