Just nine days after being sworn in as New Mexico’s Governor, Bill Richardson was thrust into the middle of an international crisis. North Korean officials traveled to Santa Fe to deliver a message to Richardson that they wanted to talk to the U.S. But on the second day in Santa Fe, North Koreans in Pyongyang announced they were pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The North Korean Mission to the United Nations had to get special permission from the U.S. State Department to travel from New York to Santa Fe. Richardson met as an unofficial intermediary with the delegation, led by Han Song Ryol, the UN deputy ambassador from North Korea. During intensive talks, Richardson kept in constant contact with Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Although the withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty took center stage, Richardson and the delegation agreed on a broad framework for progress – an economic assistance package and a possible security guarantee against a U.S. attack in exchange for verifiable movement on the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program.
However, North Korea backtracked on several other issues and no final deal was reached between the U.S. and North Korea.