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Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) - The United States Tuesday [ 24 August] would not confirm former US President Jimmy Carter's imminent trip to Pyongyang to secure the release of an American citizen detained for illegal entry amid reports he was headed for the reclusive communist state.
White House spokesman Bill Burton, however, strongly hinted that the Obama administration will be able to announce Carter's trip to North Korea after Aijalon Gomes, 30, from Boston, is freed.
"I'm not going to comment on anything that could have a negative impact on any private humanitarian mission that might be happening," Burton said. "We obviously think that Mr Gomes should be released. There will probably be more information on this sometime in the future."
Reports said that Carter left for Pyongyang earlier in the day on a private charter flight to win the release of Gomes, sentenced in May to eight years in a labour and re-education camp, and fined about US$700,000 for illegal entry on Jan. 25.
The US sent a consular official and two doctors to Pyongyang early this month in a failed attempt to bring Gomes back home. That mission was announced only after its completion.
"We will not comment on our efforts to secure the release of Mr …