Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Richardson Successful in North Korea

You can't get much more successful in diplomacy than Bill Richardson. Once again the Governor has been successful in North Korea. The delegation that Richardson is co-leading with Anthony Principi has secured the remains of American servicemen and accomplished the mission it was sent to Pyongyang to do.

Richardson, a former ambassador to the U.N., has regularly made diplomatic trips, often on his own initiative, to global hot spots. Although visits to North Korea by senior U.S. officials are rare, this was Richardson's sixth.

In a possible sign of improved ties, a North Korean general said the remains of six U.S. servicemen would be handed over to the Americans. Three of the sets of remains had identification tags, U.S. officials said after meeting with the general.

Richardson called it a noble humanitarian gesture that would bring comfort to American families.

Not content to accomplish the mission, the delegation pushed North Korea to shut down its main nuclear reactor and allow U.N. inspections, as was laid out in an accord that came out of six party talks earlier this year.

Richardson said his delegation pushed Kim for a show of good faith that North Korea was ready to meet its obligations under the February deal, asking for a meeting of the six nations involved in the nuclear disarmament talks before the deadline.

He said he was hoping to travel to the reactor site in Yongbyon, 55 miles north of Pyongyang, but there were a lot of "political issues involved." He did not elaborate.

Heath Haussamen also has a good post on Governor Richardson's North Korea trip.

Here is the official press release from Governor Richardson's office
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