- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Former President Jimmy Carter has sent North Korea a message of condolence over the death of Kim Jong-il and wished “every success” to the son expected to take over as dictator, according to the communist country’s state-run news agency.

A dispatch from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Mr. Carter sent the message to Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s third son and heir apparent.

“In the message, Jimmy Carter extended condolences to Kim Jong-un and the Korean people over the demise of leader Kim Jong-il. He wished Kim Jong-un every success as he assumes his new responsibility of leadership, looking forward to another visit to [North Korea] in the future,” the KCNA dispatch read.

When contacted by The Washington Times for comment and to confirm the accuracy of KCNA’s account, the Carter Center provided an e-mail contact for a spokeswoman who is out of the office until after the New Year.

An e-mail message to her assistant was not immediately returned.

Mr. Carter has visited North Korea twice, including a 1994 visit for talks that led to a deal in which North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear-weapons program in exchange for oil and the construction of two nuclear reactors. That deal collapsed in 2002.

The former U.S. president has downplayed a 2010 North Korean attack on a South Korean island and the disclosure of a uranium-enrichment facility, saying the acts were merely “designed to remind the world that they deserve respect in negotiations that will shape their future.”