SEOUL, South Korea — North Koreans welcomed Jimmy Carter to Pyongyang with smiles, salutes and hearty handshakes Wednesday as the former American president arrived on a mission to bring home a Boston man jailed in the communist country since January.
U.S. officials have billed Carter's trip as a private humanitarian visit to try to negotiate the release of Aijalon Gomes, sentenced to eight years of hard labor in a North Korean prison for entering the country illegally from China.
However, visits like Carter's — and the journey former President Clinton made a year ago to secure the release of two American journalists — serve as more than just rescue missions. They also offer an opportunity for unofficial diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea, analysts say.
More than 50 survive plane crash in China
Never miss a local story.
YICHUN, China — A nighttime flight into a remote Chinese city ended with a violent, shaking descent and then a crash near an airport that one major Chinese airline had previously judged unsafe for night landings. More than half the 96 people onboard survived, clambering over luggage as smoke filled the broken fuselage.
The crash Tuesday in northeast China's Heilongjiang province killed 42 people and was the country's worst commercial air disaster in nearly six years.
Investigators recovered two black boxes from the wreckage of the Henan Airlines Embraer 190 jet Wednesday and were waiting to question the pilot, Qi Quanjun, who survived but was badly injured, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.