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Blame the North Korea threat on Carter, Clinton

By in Press Enterprise on July 8, 2017

By Susan Shelley

Former President Jimmy Carter has a website on which he tells self-congratulatory stories of his foreign policy exploits. If you go to CarterCenter.org, you can read all about how he negotiated a deal with North Korea that stopped its development of nuclear weapons.

“In 1994, the United States and South Korea were on the brink of war with North Korea, convinced that the North was moving to develop nuclear weapons,” Carter’s story begins.

North Korea had pulled out of the International Atomic Energy Agency and threatened to expel its inspectors. The U.S. was pushing for U.N. sanctions. Tensions were high.

North Korean President Kim Il Sung invited Carter to visit, and Carter went. After two days of talks, Carter and Kim reached a “breakthrough” agreement “to freeze North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for the resumption of a dialogue with the United States.”

There was just one problem.

Jimmy Carter wasn’t the president.

“Completing his mission to North Korea, former President Jimmy Carter hugged the country’s dictator on Friday and called the trip ‘a good omen,’ the New York Times reported, “but immediately touched off a squabble with the Clinton Administration over whether North Korea had specifically offered to freeze its nuclear weapons development project.”

The Times reported that while the White House had approved and encouraged Carter’s trip, U.S. officials “had not expected to get swept into negotiations that were being carried out on television.” At one point, Secretary of State Warren Christopher woke up foreign ministers in Asia to piece together a response to Carter’s televised comments before he started another negotiating session.

But President Bill Clinton went along with it. He held the first direct talks with North Korea in 40 years and agreed to send $4 billion in energy aid to the country’s “hard-line Communist leadership,” as the Times described them, in exchange for […]    

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