CNN BREAKING NEWS
North Koreans to Talk With Bill Richardson
Aired January 9, 2003 - 12:19 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Our State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel is standing by. She has some important news on the possible showdown with North Korea -- Andrea.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, that's right. CNN can confirm that the Democratic governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, is today going to be delivering a message directly to two North Korean emissaries from their U.N. mission in New York. They have been given special permission by the Bush administration to travel to New Mexico, where Richardson will pass on to them what we've heard the Bush administration say in the last couple of days. And that is, that it's open to talks with North Korea, if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons.
They say it's not negotiations. They say there's no quid pro quo, but they do say that they're willing to sit down, and this message is going to be delivered by Bill Richardson, who was tapped by the Bush White House to pass on this message.
As you know, Wolf, Bill Richardson has had quite a long history of negotiating with North Koreans on behalf of the U.S. government. But previously, it was on behalf of the Clinton administration, where he served both as energy secretary and as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In addition, Richardson will be telling the North Koreans, I'm told by a senior administration source, that the U.S. would be willing to codify, to put in writing, security assurances that the North Koreans had been seeking from the United States.
What president bush has been saying time and again in recent days that the U.S. has no intention of attack attacking the north. This is extremely important to Pyongyang, because it fears that if the U.S. were to go after Iraq, it might be next on the hit list -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Andrea, very important news.
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