Democratic Representative Ro Khanna said Thursday that he has been told by former President Jimmy Carter he would be willing to travel to North Korean and meet with the country’s leader if that helped President Donald Trump.
Carter made the comments during a meeting that same day with Khanna about the Democrat’s legislation to end the Korean War.
“I think President Carter can help (President Trump) for the sake of the country,” Khanna said.
Carter, who has visited North Korea three times, was the first U.S. president to do so. In 1994, during his first visit to the hermit regime, Carter met with Kim II Sung, the current leader’s grandfather. The encounter helped to defuse the first North Korean nuclear crisis and laid the groundwork for the Agreed Framework, in which North Korea agreed to denuclearize in exchange for aid.
The former president said he would travel to Pyongyang if the current administration asked him to do so. His offer comes a week after talks between Trump and Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, broke down.
Khanna later noted that Carter may be the only person who could help Trump break his deadlock with Kim Jong-un considering he is the one “person in the nation” who has had direct contact with the North Korean leader’s grandfather.
However, the prospects that President Trump could ask Carter for assistance are very slim, as the former Democratic president has been critical of Trump on multiple occasions. Carter has called Trump’s presidency a “disaster” and said he would change all of his policies if he could, Politico writes.
Khanna noted, nonetheless, that with the help of Carter he would work to revive the 12-point strategy for denuclearization that the former president drew up with Kim Il Sung and help the Trump administration. The sentiment was echoed by Robert Malley, a conflict specialist and foreign policy point man who served in the Obama administration.
“The administration faces real dilemmas about how to move forward. That makes it a good time to take a step back and talk to those who have experience on this issue and on dealing with North Korea. President Carter fits that description,” Malley said. “He’s dealt with North Korea’s leadership at the highest level more than almost any American. So, yes, it would make a lot of sense for the Trump administration to talk to him.”
Khanna further stressed that it may be a long shot for the Trump administration to welcome Carter’s involvement in the peace process but as the stakes are high that could be a “win-win” for President Trump, who could thus gain the support of congressional Democrats.