In this image taken from video, former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA, on May 9, 2017.
Alex Sanz—AP
By Alana Abramson
October 22, 2017

Former President Jimmy Carter may be on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum from the current leader of the free world, but he’s still offering to help with one of the most pressing issues — the crisis with North Korea.

Carter, 93 told the New York Times he is willing to take the lead on diplomatic efforts with the North Korea government to contain their efforts to amass nuclear weapons , and is even willing to physically travel to North Korea to carry out this objective. “I would go, yes,” he said, noting that he spoke directly with Trump’s National Security Adviser, H. R. McMaster in May, when he saw him at the funeral of his former National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. “I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he said.

In 1994, Carter flew to North Korea for a meeting with Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s grandfather who was leader of North Korea at the time during a contentious time between the two countries. “After hearing that Washington was also contemplating a buildup in military capability, I decided to go. In the past, I had always refrained from going to a troubled area of the world without approval from the White House or State Department. But I hadn’t been able to get approval. So I finally wrote President Clinton a letter and told him that I had decided to go to North Korea,” Carter told PBS of his decision in 2003.

But even though Carter advocated for diplomatic measures, he still expressed alarm over Kim Jung Un, who he called “unpredictable” and said was capable of conducting a preemptive strike against the United States. “I think he’s now got advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the Korean Peninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland,” he told the Times.

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