Ex President Carter in North Korea to negotiate release of US man
Former US president Jimmy Carter touched down in North Korea Wednesday, where he is working to secure the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes an American national jailed for illegal entry.
Gomes was jailed in April for illegally crossing into the North from China, South Korea's Munhwa Ilbo newspaper reported.
Officials have expressed concern over the health of the 30-year-old English teacher after North Korean media said he attempted suicide and has been treated in a hospital.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he was not aware of any contacts the former president had with the department before his trip and said it was private humanitarian affair.
Carter was greeted at an official ceremony at Pyongyang airport by North Korean vice foreign minister and nuclear envoy Kim Kye-Gwan.
Kim Yong-Nam, the North's number two leader and nominal head of state, had a "cordial" talk with Carter before arranging a reception for his party at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
Carter served as US president from 1977 to 1981 and has made a career in diplomacy since leaving the White House.
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