New York, Jan.27 (ANI): Former US President Jimmy Carter has said that North Korea can be talked into surrendering its nukes in "half a day."
Carter was quoted by Fox News as saying during an Associated Press interview on Monday that he believed North Korea would be willing to give up its nuclear weapons for U.S. diplomatic recognition, a peace deal with South Korea and America, and if it got new atomic power reactors and free fuel oil.
"It could be worked out, in my opinion, in half a day," Carter said.
Last week, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said it would give up its nuclear weapons only if Washington establishes diplomatic relations with the regime and the U.S. ceases to pose a nuclear threat to the North -- an apparent reference to Pyongyang's long-standing claim that American nuclear weapons are hidden in South Korea.
Both Seoul and Washington deny the accusation.
"I went over there in 1994 and I worked out a complete agreement with (former North Korean President) Kim Il Sung to eliminate all nuclear programs, and to let International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors come in without impediment," Carter said.
"President Clinton adopted that and put it into effect," in effect agreeing to give North Korea fuel oil and modernized, safe atomic reactors in exchange for dismantling its old reactors and allowing unfettered U.N. inspections, he added.
Carter's and Clinton's deals to dismantle the North Korean nuclear program -- then consisting of reactors with only a theoretical weapons-building capacity -- were shelved when President George W. Bush took office in 2001.
Anxious to dismantle the country's atomic program, five regional powers hashed out a 2007 deal promising energy and other aid to Pyongyang in exchange for nuclear disarmament, but the agreement has been hindered by disputes between North Korea and the United States over how to verify what nuclear activities the country had undertaken in past decades.
Carter believes the deal could be accomplished almost instantly, with good will. (ANI)