The Washington Times - January 5, 2013, 07:18PM

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is traveling to North Korea with Google chief executive Eric Schmidt on a humanitarian mission, said on CNN Saturday that he hopes to speak with Kenneth Bae, an American who is being detained in the Communist nation.

Mr. Richardson, who has helped broker the release of Americans in North Korea on previous missions, said new leadership in North Korea and in South Korea presents an opportunity for both nations.

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“I’m getting mixed messages. This is why we wanted to go and get an on-hand assessment. On the one hand, this New Year’s Eve speech talks about a dialogue with South Korea. That’s good because the new South Korean president is ready to engage.”

But Mr. Richardson noted that recent rocket launches in North Korea “are not conducive to … negotiations, to the international community feeling comfort in discussing issues with North Korea.”