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Richardson making ‘private visit’ to North Korea

Gov. Bill Richardson (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

Gov. Bill Richardson will make a “private visit” to North Korea next week to meet with government officials, Reuters is reporting.

“This is a private visit. He is not delivering a message,” a senior U.S. official was quoted by the news organization as saying.

The visit comes at a volatile time. Earlier today, the top U.S. military officer warned North Korea that the United States’ commitment to helping South Korea defend itself is “unquestioned.” He also pressed China to “use its enormous leverage to rein in the North,” The Associated Press reported.

Tensions have been high since North Korea shelled a South Korean island last month, killing four people, including two civilians, and injuring 18. In March, the sinking of a South Korean warship, which has been blamed on North Korea, left 46 sailors dead.

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has negotiated with the North Korean government several times since he became governor in 2003, both in North Korea and Santa Fe.


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However, since a federal investigation derailed Richardson’s nomination to be U.S. commerce secretary and damaged his public image, the U.S. government has sent Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton on trips to North Korea instead of Richardson.

The governor did meet with North Korean diplomats in Santa Fe last year.

Richardson leaves office at the end of the year. His spokespeople have said he plans to continue living in Santa Fe and, despite reports, isn’t interested in a lobbying job in Washington.

“He plans to live in Santa Fe and drive around the country visiting Major League ballparks after term ends,” Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos has told The Santa Fe New Mexican.

Update, 4:45 p.m.

The Associated Press has confirmed Richardson’s trip, but reports that he won’t be carrying any message from the U.S. government.

“I am increasingly concerned with the recent actions by the North Koreans, which have raised tensions and are contributing to instability on the Korean Peninsula,” Richardson said in a statement to the AP.

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7 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.

  1. Do they race wild horses there?

  2. Thank you Bill Richardson. I am relieved that a skilled and experienced negotiator is going to N. Korea. Our Nation can not afford another hot war front.

  3. Sorry; that was aimed at Abq_Dude… The new mobile interface is still a little hard to get used to.

  4. qofdisks, I need to ask; do you typically use the number of Google results as your standard-of-proof for a given belief? Under the circumstances, I have to assume that you also believe that the President was born in Kenya, that 9/11 was a Zionist conspiracy, and that the pyramids are clearly alien landing-pads. If you’re going to make a statement, you should probably use a higher standard-of-evidence.

  5. Duh! gofdisks, just one google on Richardson + scandal = 204,000 results ! Maybe Bill will stay in North Korea. Yea, thanks, Bill, for being a lousy and inept governor!

  6. Bill Richardson’s governance was not a disaster or scandal. I am grateful that a skilled and proven negotiator is going to talk to N. Korea. This nation cannot afford another hot war front. Thank you Bill Richardson.

  7. If it is a private visit, how is it being paid for? Seems like Richardson is trying to save face after a disastrous and scandalous administration. How many more days til Martinez takes over?

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