Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Richardson Will Greet North Korean Diplomats In New Mexico

Senior diplomats with the North Korean mission to the United Nations are scheduled for a two-day meeting with Gov. Bill Richardson in New Mexico starting Wednesday.

Governor Bill Richardson, who has traveled to North Korea several times in the past, most recently in April 2007 to secure the return of remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War, is expected to greet them at the governor's mansion on Wednesday.

We've learned it was the North Koreans who asked Richardson for the meeting after relationship talks stalled in other diplomatic channels.

Tomorrow's meeting with the North Koreans won't be the first meeting in the state. In January 2003 Richardson met with the North Koreans for extended talks on a nuclear showdown with Kim Il Jong's government, that lasted three days. Richardson called those discussions "positive, frank and candid." That meeting was coordinated with then Secretary of State Colin Powell.

A source said during this visit Richardson will be in a listening mode. He wants to find out what the North Koreans have to say. He is not doing any kind of negotiating.

CNN reports a discussion of renewable energy will be on the agenda because the state is recognized as a leader in the U.S. in exploring renewable energy technologies.

The visit comes on the heels of a trip to North Korea by former President Bill Clinton to gain the release of two American journalists held in Pyongyang.

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