North Koreans request meeting with Governor to discuss upcoming six-party talks
SANTA FE, NM - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will meet with two top North Korean officials this Friday, December 15, in Santa Fe. The North Koreans asked for the meeting with Governor Richardson to discuss the upcoming multi-lateral talks regarding the North Korean nuclear weapons program.
The so-called six-party talks include North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan, and the United States. They are scheduled to resume Monday, December 18, in Beijing, China. Two diplomats from the North Korean Mission to the United Nations, Minister Kim Myong Gil and First Secretary Song Se Il, have been granted permission by the US State Department to make the visit to Santa Fe.
“While I will not be acting as an official representative of the administration, I am pleased to do whatever I can to help increase understanding between our two countries and help move the 6-party talks forward,” said Governor Richardson. “I believe we have an opportunity to use diplomacy to end this crisis and bring stability to the Korean Peninsula. I will press the North Koreans to start dismantling their nuclear weapons.”
The North Korean delegation will arrive in New Mexico Friday morning and meet with Governor Richardson in the afternoon at the Governor’s mansion. "We have reached a critical crossroads in the effort to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons," stated Dr. K.A. Namkung, Governor Richardson's senior advisor. "The North Koreans' visit to Santa Fe this week will hopefully help move the talks forward."
Governor Richardson has dealt extensively with North Korea during his tenure as US Congressman, US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Energy Secretary. He has traveled to North Korea five times, most recently last October. This will be the second North Korean delegation to travel to Santa Fe to meet with Governor Richardson. The first visit took place shortly after he took office in January, 2003.