Some prominent Americans who have met with North Korean leaders

PHOTO: In this photo released by Korean Central News Agency, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, seated left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, seated right, in Pyonggyang, North Korea, on Aug. 4, 2009.PlayKorean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
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No sitting U.S. president has ever met with a North Korean leader, though there have been lower-level sessions.

Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton waited until after their time in office to meet with North Korean leaders.

Carter met with Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founder, in 1994, more than a decade after leaving office.

PHOTO: In this June 16, 1994 photo distributed by Korea News Service, leader Kim Il Sung takes part in a souvenir picture with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter, and other members who visited North Korea.Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images
In this June 16, 1994 photo distributed by Korea News Service, leader Kim Il Sung takes part in a souvenir picture with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter, and other members who visited North Korea.

Kim Il Sung, who died weeks after meeting with Carter, is the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

Clinton was invited to meet with Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung's son, and successor, in 2000 but declined the invitation.

Instead, then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright went to North Korea.

PHOTO: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il, left, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the Pae Kha Hawon Guest House in Pyongyang on Oct. 23, 2000.David Guttenfelder/AP
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il, left, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the Pae Kha Hawon Guest House in Pyongyang on Oct. 23, 2000.

It wasn't until nine years later when Clinton himself, then out of office, met with Kim Jong Il as part of an effort to help secure the release of two U.S. journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

PHOTO: In this photo released by Korean Central News Agency, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, seated left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, seated right, in Pyonggyang, North Korea, on Aug. 4, 2009.Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
In this photo released by Korean Central News Agency, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, seated left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, seated right, in Pyonggyang, North Korea, on Aug. 4, 2009.

Former Vice President Al Gore met Ling and Lee when they returned to the United States.

PHOTO: Freed journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are welcomed by former vice-president Al Gore after they arrived from North Korea at the airport in Burbank, Calif. with former U.S. president Bill Clinton on Aug. 5, 2009.Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images
Freed journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are welcomed by former vice-president Al Gore after they arrived from North Korea at the airport in Burbank, Calif. with former U.S. president Bill Clinton on Aug. 5, 2009.

That wasn't the last time that a former president met with North Korean officials to help free an American. In 2010, Carter returned to North Korea on behalf of Aijalon Gomes, a Massachusetts resident who was sentenced to eight years of hard labor for entering the country illegally.

PHOTO: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left, meets North Koreas No. 2 Kim Yong Nam at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea on Aug. 25, 2010.Kyodo News/AP
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left, meets North Korea's No. 2 Kim Yong Nam at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea on Aug. 25, 2010.

Carter returned to the so-called hermit kingdom in 2011, this time along with other world leaders as part of talks about the country's food shortage.

PHOTO: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, accompanied by his delegation members, is greeted upon arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 26, 2011.APTN/AP
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, accompanied by his delegation members, is greeted upon arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 26, 2011.

In recent years, the most notable U.S. visitor to North Korea has been former basketball star Dennis Rodman.

PHOTO: The game of basketball has played an important role in the diplomatic relations with the North Korean leadership. Former Bulls star Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un at an exhibition basketball game between U.S. and North Korean players, Jan. 8, 2014. Kyodo News via Getty Images
The game of basketball has played an important role in the diplomatic relations with the North Korean leadership. Former Bulls star Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un at an exhibition basketball game between U.S. and North Korean players, Jan. 8, 2014.

Rodman visited the country in 2014 and once again in 2017.

He met with Kim Jong Un on both visits.

PHOTO: Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman presents a book titled Trump The Art of the Deal to North Koreas Sports Minister Kim Il Guk on June 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.Kim Kwang Hyon/AP
Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman presents a book titled "Trump The Art of the Deal" to North Korea's Sports Minister Kim Il Guk on June 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

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