Former President Jimmy Carter is willing to travel to North Korea in order to meet with Kim Jong Un on behalf of President Donald Trump, a Democratic congressman told CNN on Thursday.
Carter expressed his willingness to travel in a meeting with Rep. Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, on Thursday. The two were meeting regarding the California Democrat’s legislation to end the Korean war.
“I think President Carter can help (President Trump) for the sake of the country,” Khanna told CNN.
Carter’s offer comes a week after Trump’s summit with North Korea in Hanoi, Vietnam that ended without a deal.
The former President has visited North Korea three times. In 1994, he met with Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, becoming the first US president to visit the country. The 1994 trip helped to defuse the first North Korean nuclear crisis and laid groundwork for the Agreed Framework, in which North Korea agreed to denuclearize in exchange for aid.
Politico first reported Carter’s willingness to assist Trump.
Khanna said Carter, 94, could provide useful experience and historical context to current negotiations.
“I think it would be so profound because he could talk to Kim Jong Un about his grandfather and the framework he established,” Khanna said.
Regardless of whether Trump accepts Carter’s offer, the former President has already agreed to work alongside Khanna and develop a framework for peace between the United States and North Korea, the congressman said.
Robert Malley, a conflict resolution specialist who served on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, will also be working on the project, Khanna said.
In their meeting Thursday, Khanna said Carter told him that the one thing missing from his resolution to end the war with North Korea was a step-by-step process for achieving peace.
“When I said ‘who could I work with’ (Carter) laughed and he said ‘me,’” Khanna said.
Carter told the California Democrat that he felt his negotiations with Kim Il Sung, which included an agreement with 12 broad principles, could be applied as a framework for peace today.
Malley and Khanna will work on a framework together before emailing it to Carter’s chief of staff, the congressman said.
He added that the goal is to finish the framework “in the next couple weeks” and pass it on to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the administration and Trump.
“I would love for President Carter to have a conversation with President Trump or with Secretary Pompeo,” Khanna said. “Or to have him play a role.”
Carter has been critical of Trump’s foreign policy moves in the past, but this is not the first time he has offered his assistance in North Korea. In 2017, before Trump’s first summit with the North Korean leader, Carter told The New York Times that he had told members of the administration that he was “available if they ever need me.”
Khanna said this is an opportunity to work across the aisle on a topic where Carter supports Trump.
Although Carter, who has fought cancer and had other health struggles, no longer travels internationally, he told Khanna that North Korea is the “one place he would be willing to go.”