Carter Urged To Intervene In North Korea Nuclear Standoff

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:12 PM EDT

Pacific Rim Bureau ( - Left-wing and civic organizations in South Korea are appealing to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to help resolve the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The Korean Peace Network, an umbrella group of 13 organizations, planned to send a letter Tuesday to the former president and 2002 Nobel peace prize winner, urging him to intervene to decrease tensions on the divided peninsula.

They include such groups as Green Korea, Women Making Peace and People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD).

PSPD spokesperson Yeara Park said from Seoul Tuesday the group did not expect Carter to "solve the problem by himself, but maybe he can raise the issue somewhere."

She said the appeal to Carter was one of a number being sent to "peace organizations" around the world, in a bid to "raise public awareness."

Park said many civic organizations in South Korea were unhappy with the Bush administration's policies relating to Pyongyang.

"The way the U.S. is pushing the North Koreans is making them more aggressive," she said.

According to the State Department, the communist North early last month admitted it was pursuing a program to enrich uranium - a process used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

The efforts violate a 1994 agreement to freeze North Korea's nuclear program.

Washington has now refused to resume dialogue with Pyongyang until it shuts down the program in a way that can be verified. It has also frozen shipments to the North of heavy fuel, agreed to under the 1994 "agreed framework."

The agreement was negotiated by the Clinton administration after Carter traveled to Pyongyang as an unofficial U.S. representative in a bid to defuse a crisis sparked by the North's threat to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The Center for Security Policy in Washington said last month it was not surprised at the news that North Korea was pursuing a nuclear capability, having warned at the time against Carter's visit on the grounds it was merely buying Pyongyang more time.

It had also been opposed to the subsequent agreement, which the CSP said invited "deadly, aggressive behavior around the globe."

See also:
North Korea Nuclear Weapons Admission Resonates In Region (Oct. 17, 2002)

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow