Jimmy Carter and Other Elders To Visit North Korea

April 25, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, a member of the Elders group, speaks during a joint press conference with other members of the group in Damascus on October 19, 2010. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, a member of the Elders group, speaks during a joint press conference with other members of the group in Damascus on October 19, 2010. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
Former President Jimmy Carter together with three former heads of state, are set to visit North Korea April 26 to encourage a renewal of talks between the Koreas.

The main objective of the trip is to "establish a relationship of trust" according to a press release statement by the elders, a group of 12 independent public figures dedicated to global peace building.

Carter and the group are expected to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as well as members of civil society, academic experts, and foreign diplomats.

The visit is part of a six-day trip, which includes visits to Beijing and Seoul.

Carter, who has visited North Korea twice already, will be accompanied by the fellow elders Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland; Dr. Gro Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway; and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland.

The elders will address reopening of the Six Party Talks to reduce tensions between North and South Korea. They also hope to address the reported food shortages in the North.

The Six Party Talks between the Koreas, China, the United States, Japan, and Russia, which are aimed at resolving the security concerns on the Korean Peninsula, have been stalled since March 2010 after North Korean torpedoed a South Korean submarine.

Tensions on the peninsula again escalated in November 2010, when North Korea attacked the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.

Founded by Nelson Mandela, the elders are a group of 12 independent public figures, who hold no political positions and have earned the reputation as trusted leaders.

In a press statement about the trip, Carter said, “At a time when official dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea appears to be at a standstill, we aim to see how we may be of assistance in reducing tensions and help the parties address key issues including denuclearization,”

Ahtisaari said, "In my experience, there is a solution to every problem, but achieving agreement requires meaningful dialogue between the relevant parties. Getting talks started is a matter of political will and trust,” in the release.