- Albania bank loses $7M in theft; police arrest 2
- Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly
- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
- Nancy Pelosi: Deporting kids un-Christian, sends them ‘into a burning building’
- Islamist militants seize special forces base in Benghazi, Libya
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women’s fitness tests
- Israel accused of striking U.N. school, killing at least 15
- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
Ex-diplomats Bill Richardson, Madeleine Albright speak candidly about trips to North Korea
Question of the Day
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson on Sunday said that on one of several trips he made in recent years to North Korea, a leader from the nation did not deny selling nuclear weapons materials to other countries.
“I remember asking a North Korean leader, I said: ‘Are you guys exporting nuclear materials?’ He said: ‘Maybe. If you continue sanctions, we’ve got to get foreign exchange,’” Mr. Richardson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
While he did not specify when the exchange took place, Mr. Richardson explained that from the North Korean perspective, the sale of highly valuable nuclear material is seen by Pyongyang’s leadership as a way to skirt international sanctions to bring much needed foreign currency into the nation.
“It’s the only thing that they have going,” she said.
Regarding the current wave of antagonistic rhetoric and nuclear threats coming from Pyongyang, Mr. Richardson, also a Democrat, said that “probably the longer-range threat is the spread of nuclear materials.”
“What you don’t want is North Korea selling enriched uranium to Iran,” he said.
Mrs. Albright, meanwhile, spoke candidly of her 2000 visit to Pyongyang, saying that during roughly 12 hours of talks, she engaged in a “sane discussion” Kim Jong-il — the father of current 28-year-old leader Kim Jong-un — about missile moratoriums and a wide range of other issues, including the presence of U.S. military forces in South Korea.
“The problem was that they are in some kind of delusional denial in terms of how the rest of the people in North Korea are living,” she said. “So while we were having fancy dinners, I knew that the North Korean people were eating bark off the trees.”
But the point, Mrs. Albright added, was that “we were talking,” and while the North Korea leadership has a “tendency to lie” about their nuclear program, “I believe that talking to them is important, and if they were to return to the agreements that they made in 2005, we should be willing to talk to them.”
“Talking is actually a form of trying to solve problems,” she added.
Both Mrs. Albright and Mr. Richardson suggested that the immediate motivations behind the recent wave of actions and threats made by Kim Jong-un could be linked to North Korea’s domestic political situation.
“Primarily this is about Kim Jong-un trying to establish his position internally,” Mrs. Albright said. “A lot of this is domestically motivated in terms of whether he’s in charge or the military’s in charge or the people around him are in charge, and I think we have to see it from a domestic political perspective.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- Israel's ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
- U.S. intelligence nearly certain pro-Russian separatists downed Malaysian Airlines flight
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- MH17: Fear of ground-to-air missile strike becomes nightmare reality in Ukraine
- U.S., China to participate in unprecedented joint ground force exercise
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Government OKs Arab-owned company Gulftainer to operate U.S. cargo port
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world