ABC’s Kirit Radia reports:
Former President Jimmy Carter is planning a trip to North Korea, but not as an envoy of the U.S. government.
“We have not had any contact with him other than being informed about the trip. And he's clearly — or he's traveling in a private capacity,” State Dept spokesman Mark Toner said, adding that he is not carrying a message from the Obama administration and doesn’t have an official delegation with him.
According to some reports, Carter may travel as soon as next month.
Carter traveled to Pyongyang in August 2010 to retrieve an American citizen, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who had been sentenced to 8 years in prison for entering North Korea illegally from China that January.
In October of 2010 Carter penned an editorial urging more engagement with North Korea. But since his visit that August, the isolated country has revealed its advanced highly enriched uranium program.
In 2009, former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to lobby (successfully) for the release of the American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
A request for comment from the Carter Center has not been returned.