Richardson, Google chief arrive in N. Korea



Carol Huang | AFP

Published — Tuesday 8 January 2013

Last update 8 January 2013 6:24 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BEIJING: Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Google chairman Eric Schmidt arrived yesterday in North Korea, where a US citizen is being held awaiting trial, for what the politician called a private trip.
“This is a private humanitarian mission, not connected to the US government,” said Richardson, also a former US ambassador to the United Nations, at Beijing’s airport before traveling to the secretive nation.
“We’re going to be in Pyongyang, probably for two and a half days. We may go outside the city. We will find out when we arrive,” he said.
The North’s official KCNA news agency announced their arrival in Pyongyang as “a US Google delegation headed by former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson.”
Kenneth Bae, an American of Korean descent, is being held in North Korea and his son contacted Richardson to ask for his help, the politician said last week.
North Korea has in the past agreed to hand over detainees to high-profile delegations led by the likes of former US president Bill Clinton, and some observers suggested it may have requested Schmidt’s participation in this case.
But the US State Department has voiced concerns about the trip, saying it was ill-timed in the wake of Pyongyang’s widely condemned rocket launch last month.

Richardson has been to North Korea a number of times in the past two decades and has been involved in negotiating the release of US citizens held in the isolated country.
He told CNN Friday that he expected to meet several senior officials in North Korea, though talks with leader Kim Jong-Un were “very doubtful.”
He added that he hoped the trip would be “positive” and dismissed US concerns, saying it had already been postponed once at Washington’s request and the State Department should not be “nervous.”
Both he and Schmidt would be traveling as private citizens, representing neither the US government nor Google, he said.
Also on the trip were Richardson’s longtime aide on North Korea, K.A. “Tony” Namkung, Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, a think-tank run by the California-based Internet giant, and some staff, according to a statement from Richardson’s office.
Bae, who was arrested in November, entered the country as a tourist, according to the North’s official news agency which said he had admitted committing a crime against the state.
Nolan Barkhouse, spokesman for the US embassy in Beijing, said Sunday that Richardson’s trip was unrelated to the authorities in Washington.
“They will not be carrying any messages from the US government,” Barkhouse told AFP, adding: “They will not be accompanied by any US officials.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.Th...
JEDDAH: The number of marriages between expatriates and Saudis has dropped 84 percent to 1,928 since the start of this Islamic year that began on Oct. 24, compared to the same period the previous year.The Ministry of Justice said that there were 12,0...
JEDDAH: Unofficial marriage is a refuge for a divorced mother to lead a married life while keeping her children in her custody but without the knowledge of the former husband who could demand the custody of the children if he learned about the ex-wif...
JEDDAH: Makkah’s health department has set up a committee to verify the sick leave certificates of employees.The department stated it would apply government regulations on sick leave, which includes people providing the address of the facilities wher...
RIYADH: The directorate of roads and transport has registered 20 cases of violations worth SR24,500 in Al-Qassim, where the transport ministry continued its surveillance drive against the companies in the transport business.According to the directora...
RIYADH: The implementation of an integrated health plan to combat MERS has resulted in a sharp drop in cases, with only one out of 736 samples testing positive for the contagion in the Kingdom in the last six days. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khal...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin next Tuesday to check whether companies are complying with new laws requiring them to place proper price labels on all their products.It is mandatory for companies to stop using phrases such as...
RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh chaired the first meeting with Yemeni scholars to exchange ideas on how to strengthen their role in restoring peace in their country.The first Saudi-Yemen scholars meeting, dubbed the “outreach sch...
RIYADH: To cope with the growing number of applicants (boys and girls) at technical colleges that reached 126,023 last year, a state-run organization launched an online unified portal to ease the enrolment procedures.According to the Technical and V...
RIYADH: A senior government official from Dhaka, who visited Riyadh last week, has sorted out technical issues to expedite issuing 1.5 million machine readable passports (MRP) to Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom. Information and Communication T...
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality is keen to provide health and food security to residents and visitors of the city, and they are continually conducting inspections of food stores, restaurants, markets and food storage facilities to avoid any violations by...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has been awarded a top international prize for his contribution to the propagation of the Qur’an.He was named the “Islamic Personality of the Year” by the Holy Qur’an International Memorization Or...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier, minister of defense and chairman of the Economic Affairs and Development Council, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, deputy national security advis...
JEDDAH: The Saudi man who carried out a suicide bombing at a mosque in Kuwait on Friday had no previous convictions for terrorism, the Interior Ministry said.The ministry, through its Twitter account, announced that Fahad Suleiman Al-Gabbaa was born...

Stay Connected

Facebook