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Richardson Tours N. Korea Plant

New Mexico's governor holds a second day of talks with officials. He hopes to persuade the country to abandon its nuclear arms program.

October 20, 2005|From Associated Press

TOKYO — New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, toured a North Korean nuclear facility Wednesday and held a second day of talks with government officials as part of his effort to encourage Pyongyang to dismantle its atomic weapons program.

The Democratic governor spent about two hours at North Korea's main nuclear research facility at Yongbyon, where the communist regime is known to have secretly processed plutonium for nuclear weapons, Richardson spokesman Billy Sparks said in a phone call from Pyongyang, the capital.

Sparks also said Richardson met with officials, but he provided no details.

Richardson said before his trip that he would push the North Koreans for specifics on how they planned to dismantle their weapons program and a commitment to allow outside verification of the process.

He also said he would urge North Korea to cooperate with humanitarian aid organizations and allow them to operate more freely in the country.

The governor, who has been to North Korea several times, was invited back in May but postponed his trip when Washington asked him to wait until the completion of the latest round of nuclear talks last month in Beijing.

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