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Ambassador Richardson: Less tension in Korean Peninsula but we need more progress

Ambassador Bill Richardson acknowledges President Trump's efforts have decreased tensions in the Korean Peninsula, but says we need to see more progress on denuclearization. Watch on Fox News.

Quotes from the interview:

“Well here’s the positive. One, this visit may restart stalled nuclear talks that were going nowhere. Secondly, it’s good that the President and Kim Jong-un have a personal relationship even though we’ve made no negotiating headway. Third, there is less tension in the Korean Peninsula. My worry is that we are legitimizing Kim Jong-un when we’ve given him three freebies and summits and he’s done nothing on denuclearization. He has 60 nuclear weapons, he has missiles, and he’s probably laughing all the way to the bank. Now the President did get a political win here. You have to give him a day for showmanship, but I think the next step is important. Can we reach a compromise where we back off of saying no sanctions relief, and North Korea does something significant on denuclearization and missiles.”

Well I do give the President credit, I’ve said it many times on your program for reaching out directly to Kim Jong-un. There is less tension in the peninsula, but on the area of accomplishments on denuclearization, Kim Jong-un has done nothing and he promised he would at the first summit. Tension is less, but he’s still threatening Japan, he’s still threatening America with Guam and Alaska. He has not curbed his use of nuclear weapons and missiles, and he said he would. So what do I want? I want this summit to lead to the negotiators, not the President. The President should step away and let the negotiators cut a deal. Some sanctions relief, for some denuclearization. Keep negotiating in the next few years. This is not going to be a one-time result.”

“First, I do think that Chairman Kim came back from Hanoi very badly damaged from the second summit because the summit broke up and he had promised his people sanctions relief and he got nothing. Yes he got a photo-op with the President, but that’s it. North Korea is in serious economic straits, partly because of the sanctions. So this is why we need China. We need to make a trade deal with China, a good trade deal for us, because we depend on them for the tough sanctions on North Korea that effects our troops and security. Now the people around Kim Jong-un, what I hope is that there is a new negotiating team on his side. The Foreign Ministry instead of the spy chief.”

“Well obviously the President is thinking of the next election and these are very good political photo-ops for an election. But I’m an American, I want to see progress. I worked on this issue for many years, negotiating from the bottom to the top hasn’t worked. We haven’t gotten any deal with North Korea yet except the lessening of tensions. What I want to see is, ‘North Korea, you can’t have 60 nuclear weapons. Maybe you can have half with verification. We’ll lower sanctions on you, but you have to perform.’ And so far North Korea, I’ve negotiated with them Bill, they like you to make the first step, they want you to do all the give, and then they hold back and don’t give you anything. You have to watch them; you can’t just give them what they want. And they have three summits, right now.


Ambassador Bill Richardson served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1997 to 1998, Secretary of Energy from 1998 to 2000, and Governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011.


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