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Jimmy Carter's North Korea visit: Can he repeat Bill Clinton's success?

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Mr. Kim died less than a month later, handing over power to his son, Kim Jong-il, but US and North Korean officials in Oct. 1994 signed an agreement in Geneva for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for massive aid. That deal broke down in 2002 with the revelation that North Korea, after shutting down its nuclear reactor, was attempting to get around the Geneva agreement by producing warheads with enriched uranium rather than plutonium at their core.

Following in Clinton's footsteps

Adding to the drama is that Carter, by going to North Korea, would be following in the footsteps of another former president, Bill Clinton, who flew to Pyongyang in early August of last year aboard a private jet. Mr. Clinton, after spending three hours dining with Kim Jong-il returned with two American women who had been picked up by North Korean soldiers on the Tumen River border with China while filming a documentary for former Vice President Al Gore’s Internet TV network.

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