Former President Jimmy Carter says he's willing to travel to North Korea as an envoy, if asked by President Trump, though he's frightened by the situation and questions China's influence on the belligerent hermit nation.

"I would go, yes," when asked by the New York Times' Maureen Dowd.

The 93-year-old said he has spoken to national security adviser H.R. McMaster about it, but claims he hasn't received the go-ahead.

"I told him that I was available if they ever need me," Carter said.

Carter travelled to Pyongyang back in 1994 to negotiate with Kim Il sung. The current leader, Kim Jong Un, the grandson of Kim Il sung, Carter called "unpredictable."

"I think he's now got advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the Korean Peninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland," Carter said. North Korea has conducted a nuclear and several missile tests this year despite mounting international pressure, including sanctions, to deter Pyongyang's efforts.

Told about how leaders in Washington are concerned about the war of words between Trump and Kim's regime, Carter said, "I'm afraid, too, of a situation,"

"I don't know what they'll do. Because they want to save their regime," he added.

On China, North Korea's neighbor to the north, Carter described the prevailing notion that the notion that the country is a key figure in dealing with Pyongyang is overstated.

"I don't know what they'll do. Because they want to save their regime. And we greatly overestimate China's influence on North Korea. Particularly to Kim Jong un. He's never, so far as I know, been to China." Carter said. "And they have no relationship. Kim Jong il did go to China and was very close to them."

Carter appeared Saturday evening in Texas with four fellow ex-presidents at a concert to raise money for hurricane relief.