Carter says hopes to meet North Korea leader and son

Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:51am EDT
 

"The Elders are not in a position to negotiate, we're not mediators. We're going to learn what we can and share what we find with the leaders with whom we have contact in the future."

DECISIVE PERIOD

Their visit comes as the six-party envoys step up their shuttle diplomacy to search for ways to restart nuclear talks. China's representative Wu Dawei will visit Seoul on Tuesday.

The main regional powers agree inter-Korean dialogue must precede the resumption of regional nuclear talks.

South Korea's Unification Minister Hyun In-taek told a seminar on Monday the situation had reached an "inflection point," but reiterated that Pyongyang must show a responsible attitude on last year's two attacks on the peninsula.

The North denies responsibility for the torpedoing of a South Korean warship last year, and said it shelled Yongpyeong island after South Korea test-fired artillery into its waters.

While Washington has said it "won't talk for talks' sake," experts say that while the two sides engage in dialogue the likelihood of the North staging a military attack like last year's deadly assault on a South Korean island diminishes.

Carter and his team, which includes former Irish President Mary Robinson, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and ex-Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland, will also be looking at the country's parlous food resources.

More than 6 million people in North Korea urgently need food aid because of substantial falls in domestic production, food imports and international aid, the United Nations said last month.   Continued...