Bill Richardson invited to North Korea amid tensions in peninsula

Pyongyang, Dec 11 (ANI): Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to the UN, would reportedly visit North Korea next week on the invitation of one of the country's top nuclear negotiators.

Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's office announced that he would leave the US on December 14 on a seven-day trip to North Korea, at the invitation of the North's chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Gye Gwan.

"I am increasingly concerned with the recent actions by the North Koreans, which have raised tensions and are contributing to instability on the Korean Peninsula," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Richardson, as saying in a statement.

Meanwhile the US State Department has reportedly said that the visit is not official American government business.

However the State Department officials said that they expect the usual pattern of "high-level visitors" to the North reporting back to Washington will be maintained in this case."President Carter ... debriefed the secretary [of State] in the aftermath of his visit. I would expect Governor Richardson to report back after he's done," Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

According to Jim Walsh, a professor of security studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who visited North Korea in 2005, such visits can deliver insight into the North's motivations in the absence of a diplomatic dialogue, and help in improving the crisis situation in the Korean peninsula.

"Anything you can do to reduce misperception and miscalculation helps prevent war," he added.

Richardson's last trip to Pyongyang was in 2007, when he returned with the remains of US servicemen killed in the Korean War. (ANI)

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