Governor Richardson led a bipartisan delegation to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of the remains of six U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War. After escorting the remains across the demilitarized zone into South Korea, Richardson also received assurances from North Korean leaders that they would allow international monitors in the country to monitor the shutdown of its nuclear facility.
Richardson and former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi let the delegation, which worked out the details of the soldiers’ remains during a meeting with General Ri Chan Bok, North Korea’s Commanding General at the DMZ. On April 11, 2007, General Ri turned over the remains of the soldiers to the U.N. Command and Military Armistice Commission.
Richardson also met with Kim Gye Gwan, the Vice-Foreign Minister in charge of U.S. Affairs and head of North Korea’s delegation to the six-party talks. Richardson pressed leaders to return to formal negotiations over its nuclear program, and to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the shut-down of the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
On April 27, North Korean leaders informed Richardson that they agreed to allow the IAEA inspectors to monitor the shutdown of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility.