North Korea more open about nukes
TOKYO – New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, returning from several days of talks in North Korea, said today that the government in Pyongyang displayed new openness about its nuclear activities and was committed to returning to six-party disarmament talks next month. Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also said the North Koreans wanted to return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and indicated that they would invite International Atomic Energy Agency officials to Pyongyang, possibly including agency head and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei. “I believe the conditions for negotiations have improved,” Richardson said during a news conference at the Tokyo Foreign Correspondents Club. “The atmosphere is the best I’ve seen.” Richardson said while he was in North Korea he toured the Yongbyon nuclear facility and spoke with the plant’s director. He said the North Koreans were open and cooperative with questions, telling him the reactor was refueled in April and indicating they had reprocessed all the spent fuel into plutonium. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “This indicates increasing transparency by the North Koreans,” Richardson said. Richard urged the North Koreans to shut down the reactor while six-party talks continue as a goodwill gesture. The latest round of six-nation nuclear talks ended last month with North Korea committing to abandon its nuclear program, which Pyongyang claims has already yielded a weapon. The next round of talks, which also involve China, Japan, South Korea and Russia, was scheduled for November but no date has been set. Richardson, who has been to North Korea several times before, was invited by the North Koreans in May but postponed his trip when Washington asked him to wait until the completion of the latest round of nuclear talks in Beijing. The governor’s entourage arrived in North Korea on Monday evening and left Thursday.