Tag Archive: Bill Richardson

New North Korean leadership not following past patterns

Posted on by

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is experienced in negotiations with North Korea, says that North Korea’s detention of Americans Merrill Newman and Kenneth Bae signals a change.

According to Richardson, the two American hostages are being used as pawns in a game with the United States — but the stakes remain unclear. “The North Koreans are up to something. … Hopefully, they’ll make a move soon and we’ll get these two Americans out,” Richardson said.

Richardson, author of the new book, “How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator,” said the detentions show Kim Jong Un “getting himself firmly in control — and I don’t think we should underestimate him. … He’s young, but he’s purged a lot of the old military leaders that were loyal to his father. He’s bringing his own people in, consolidating power.”

“… This new leadership, they’re not following the patterns that they had before like when I was negotiating,” the former governor said.

Richardson said he had helped get several hostages out of North Korea in the past. “But there was always a pattern. The pattern was there’s a confession, they apprehend them, but then they negotiate with high-profile people and they leave,” he said.

“In this case, there are two American detainees and the North Koreans, they’re acting very strange.”

“I went to North Korea in February with the head of Google, with Eric Schmidt, but the North Korean leader wouldn’t see us. He saw [basketball bad boy] Dennis Rodman.”


North Korea trip by Richardson and Schmidt set for next week

Posted on by

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will lead a private humanitarian mission to North Korea next week, Richardson’s office confirmed in a statement Saturday.

The trip comes despite public criticism from the U.S. State Department, which has said the visit was ill-timed in light of tensions stemming from North Korea’s recent rocket launch.

The delegation will also include Jared Cohen, the director of a Google initiative known as Google Ideas and Schmidt’s co-author on an upcoming book about how the Internet is changing the world.

Last July, Cohen organized a conference outside Los Angeles that featured nearly a dozen North Korean defectors, who gave harrowing accounts of privation and coerced criminal activity including drug sales.

Schmidt spoke at the conference and met with the group, according to panel moderator and North Korea expert Sheena Chestnut Greitens, now a graduate student at Harvard University.

Richardson, a former ambassador to the United Nations, has made numerous trips to North Korea. Many observers expect Richardson to seek the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour guide who was detained last year.

Google executive and Governor Bill Richardson to visit North Korea

Posted on by

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, will be traveling to North Korea on a private, humanitarian mission led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that could take place as early as this month, sources told The Associated Press.

The trip would be the first by a top executive from U.S.-based Google, the world’s largest Internet search provider, to a country considered to have the most restrictive Internet policies on the planet. To add to the mystery, last year a group of North Koreans paid a visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

North Korea is in the midst of what leader Kim Jong Un called a modern-day “industrial revolution” in a New Year’s Day speech to the nation. Kim Jong Un is pushing science and technology as a path to economic development for the impoverished country, aiming for computers in every school and digitized machinery in every factory.

However, giving citizens open access to the Internet has not been part of the regime’s strategy. While some North Koreans can access a domestic Intranet service, very few have clearance to freely surf the World Wide Web.

It was not immediately clear who Schmidt and Richardson expect to meet in North Korea.

The visit also follows North Korea’s announcement that an American citizen of Korean descent has been jailed in Pyongyang on suspicion of committing “hostile” acts against the state. Kenneth Bae, identified in North Korean state media by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho, is the fifth American detained in North Korea in the past four years. The exact circumstances of his arrest were not clear.

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who often serves as an envoy to countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the United States, will try to meet with North Korean officials, and possibly Bae, to discuss the case, the sources said.