US politician defends North Korea trip with Google head



Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 4 January 2013

Last update 4 January 2013 10:37 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

WASHINGTON: Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson dismissed US government concerns over his planned trip to North Korea with Google chairman Eric Schmidt, in an interview on Friday.
“I know the State Department is a little nervous,” Richardson said on CBS This Morning, “but we did postpone this trip already.
“Eric and I were going in December, and at the request of the State Department, we postponed it because of the South Korean presidential elections.
“We’re not representing the State Department, so they shouldn’t be that nervous,” he insisted, saying that the men were planning a private mission to urge the release of a US citizen held in North Korea.
The United States on Thursday criticized the visit, saying it was ill-timed in the wake of Pyongyang’s widely condemned rocket launch last month.
But Richardson said the visit was linked to North Korea’s arrest and planned prosecution of a US citizen of Korean descent, Kenneth Bae.
“I heard from his son, who wants to get him released,” Richardson said, highlighting his past efforts at negotiating with Pyongyang.
“I’ve brought back American servicemen. I’ve brought back American hostages. I’ve negotiated for the remains of our soldiers from the Korean War.”
The former governor said he had invited Schmidt to join the trip because “he’s interested in foreign policy, he’s a friend of mine, and I felt that it was important that there be a broader perspective of our visit.”
But he said Schmidt was going as a private citizen, and not as a representative of Internet giant Google.
Pyongyang 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.
Richardson, a veteran troubleshooter on North Korea, also said he was “concerned about the nuclear proliferation of the North Koreans.”
“I think our trip is to make an assessment of the situation in North Korea,” said Richardson, who has not traveled to the isolated nation since its new leader, Kim Jong-Un, took over from his father.
“We can bring back a perspective and at the same time try to move the North Koreans in the right direction.”
Richardson was last in Pyongyang in 2010 when he met North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator in an attempt to ease tensions after the North shelled a South Korean border island.
The US citizen arrested in November, identified as Pae Jun-Ho, entered the country as a tourist according to North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) which said he had admitted committing a crime against the state.

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: 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...
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...

Stay Connected

Facebook