Richardson in North Korea, hopes to ‘make a difference’

By Dan Martin, AFP

BEIJING — Veteran U.S. troubleshooter Bill Richardson arrived Thursday in North Korea, saying he hoped he could “make a difference” as Seoul announced plans for a live-fire drill on a key frontline island. Richardson’s visit comes less than a month after the North sparked global alarm and racked up regional tensions with its deadly shelling of the South’s Yeonpyeong island and revelations of an extensive uranium enrichment program. “We are heading to North Korea in hopes of bringing peace. My message is that we need to persuade them to stop some of the aggressive actions that North Korea has taken,” Richardson told reporters at Beijing’s airport. “I hope I can help out. I hope I can make a difference.” Richardson, the New Mexico governor and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who has traveled to North Korea several times in the past, arrived in Pyongyang later in the day, Chinese state media said.

He was due back in China on Monday.