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Jimmy Carter denies reports of possible trip to N. Korea

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has no plans to visit North Korea anytime soon, his spokeswoman said Thursday after media reports that he may be seeking an active role in reducing tensions on the peninsula and securing the release of a Korean-American man.

"President Carter has not had an invitation to visit North Korea and has no plans to visit," Carter's press secretary, Deanna Congilio, told Yonhap News Agency in an email.

Earlier, multiple South Korean news outlets reported that Pyongyang has invited him to visit there.

Separately, Yonhap learned that Carter recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry suggesting dialogue with North Korea.

A source said the former president, known for his tireless efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in other parts of the world, expressed his intent to travel to North Korea again if necessary.

Carter's spokeswoman did not respond immediately to an inquiry on the letter, however.

The State Department neither confirmed nor denied the report of Carter's letter for Kerry.

"I know that the secretary and President Carter stay in touch from time to time," department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters. "I don't have any details to provide on that specific communication, but they do stay in touch."

As North Korea has sentenced Kenneth Bae to 15 years at hard labor for what it claims to be his scheme to topple the communist nation, observers speculate that Pyongyang will request the U.S. dispatch a special envoy for the negotiation of Bae's release. (Yonhap News)