Richardson Calls for Dialogue with N.Korea

Former U.S. ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson is urging Washington to engage in dialogue with North Korea, if that isolated country ends its missile launches and nuclear tests.

Richardson and Google chairman Eric Schmidt visited North Korea last month in an unsuccessful attempted to free an American of Korean descent, who is being held there.

In an opinion piece in The Washington Post Saturday, Richardson says that a lack of direct dialogue on the American side is not helping to achieve U.S. goals. He says that while sanctions are merited, considering Pyongyang's nuclear proliferation and human rights abuses, dialogue is also a legitimate diplomatic tool. "The two are not mutually exclusive," he said.

Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt and former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson look at soldiers working on computers at a computer lab in Pyongyang on Jan. 9, 2013. /AP Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt and former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson look at soldiers working on computers at a computer lab in Pyongyang on Jan. 9, 2013. /AP

Richardson ended the article in the newspaper by repeating that if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is true to statements he has made to his people about improving their lives, he should break the cycle of escalation, refrain from additional tests and engage in dialogue with the U.S.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

VOA News / Feb. 04, 2013 08:08 KST