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Carter to North Korea


Former President Jimmy Carter is heading to North Korea in an attempt to rescue Aijalon Mahli Gomes -- a 30-year-old Boston man sentenced to eight years in prison in North Korea for crossing the border from China. The White House and State Department are not commenting on the trip to avoid jeopardizing getting Gomes home.

On background, a senior administration official says anyone going would be doing so as a private humanitarian effort. Clearly, though, the administration is aware of the trip.

In June 1994, Carter went to North Korea to begin talks with former leader Kim Il Sung without fully coordinating with then-President Bill Clinton or his national-security team.

Officials say Carter's mission is modeled on Clinton's successful trip last year to win the release of Al Gore's Current TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee. Carter will most likely spend one night in North Korea, and they hope return with Gomes.