Richardson made his first trip to North Korea as Governor in October 2005, and made progress on several fronts, including diplomatic, humanitarian and arms control. While there, Richardson was invited to tour the Yongbyon nuclear facility, and he urged the North Koreans to shut down the facility.
Richardson traveled to Pyongyang at the invitation of the North Koreans. He emphasized the importance of the principles of the six-party talks and urged them to engage with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in serious bilateral talks within the six-party format.
The North Koreans also agreed to invite the leadership of the IAEA to discuss the resumptions of nuclear inspections. Richardson asked for the tour of the Yongbyon nuclear facility as a sign of transparency on North Korea’s part.
Richardson also convinced the North Koreans to reverse course and not expel humanitarian aid workers at the end of the year. Instead, they agreed to a more gradual phase-out of the program.