Richardson: No Need for US to Fear Visit to North Korea

Posted January 4th, 2013 at 5:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson says the State Department has no reason to be nervous about his upcoming trip to North Korea.

Richardson Friday told the television program CBS This Morning that he and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt will be on a private humanitarian visit and not representing the United States.

Richardson says he has been dealing with the North Koreans for 15 years and knows them. Richardson says he plans to talk to officials about the arrest of Korean-American citizen Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea on unspecified charges.

Richardson also said he is concerned about the North's nuclear program and hopes his trip will help move the North in what he calls “the right direction.”

Without giving details, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says this is not the right time for Richardson to be going to North Korea. She says officials have expressed their concerns directly to Richardson and Schmidt.