Now, he wants to try his hand at defusing the tensions between North Korea and the United States.
“Carter wants to meet with the North Korean leader and play a constructive role for peace on the Korean Peninsula as he did in 1994,” said Park Han-shik, an emeritus professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia.
“He wants to prevent a second Korean War,” Han-shik said, referring to a trip Carter made in 1994 to North Korea during the Clinton administration.
That meeting was with Kim Il Sung, the father of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s current dictator.
“Should former President Carter be able to visit North Korea, he would like to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and discuss a peace treaty between the United States and the North and a complete denuclearization of North Korea,” Park said.
To date, North Korea has rejected any effort to rein in its nuclear missile program.
And Carter, 93, recently wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he said peace must be achieved.
“This is the most serious existing threat to world peace, and it is imperative that Pyongyang and Washington find some way to ease the escalating tension and reach a lasting, peaceful agreement,” he wrote.
Carter said that in his dealings with past North Korean regimes, the leadership was “rational.”
“What the officials have always demanded is direct talks with the United States, leading to a permanent peace treaty to replace the still-prevailing 1953 cease-fire that has failed to end the Korean conflict,” he wrote. “They want an end to sanctions, a guarantee that there will be no military attack on a peaceful North Korea, and eventual normal relations between their country and the international community.”
Carter dismissed every option on the table to date.
“All of these options are intended to dissuade or deter the leadership of a nation with long-range nuclear weapons — and that believes its existence is threatened — from taking steps to defend itself. None of them offer an immediate way to end the present crisis, because the Pyongyang government believes its survival is at stake,” he said.
Instead, he said, the U.S. should talk peace, a very different message than the ones given by Defense Secretary James Mattis — and President Donald Trump himself.
“The next step should be for the United States to offer to send a high-level delegation to Pyongyang for peace talks,” he wrote. “To support an international conference including North and South Korea, the United States and China, at a mutually acceptable site.”