WASHINGTON Jan 4 Former U.S. diplomat Bill
Richardson said on Friday he and Google executive Eric Schmidt
will make a "private humanitarian visit" to North Korea, partly
aimed at securing the release of an American detainee there.
"The objective of the trip is a private humanitarian visit.
We're not representing the U.S. government," Richardson, a
former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on CBS' "This
His remarks come a day after U.S. State Department spokesman
Victoria Nuland said the timing of the trip was "not
particularly helpful," citing North Korea's launch of a
long-range rocket in December.
Richardson said he invited Google Inc Executive
Chairman Schmidt, who he said was traveling as a private
citizen. "This is not a Google trip. He's interested in foreign
policy, he's a friend of mine, and I felt it was important that
there be a broader perspective of our visit, with Eric going and
some other members of our staff."
Richardson, who has made a number of trips to North Korea
and negotiated with it on various issues, said, "There's an
American detainee in North Korea, Kenneth Bae. I heard from his
son who wants to get him released."
Bae, a Korean-American tourist, was detained and accused of
unspecified crimes against the state. Richardson has helped
negotiate the release of detained Americans in the past.
"We're not representing the U.S. government, we are going to
raise the issue of the detainee," Richardson said, adding they
were also concerned about "the nuclear proliferation of the
In the wake of North Korea's Dec. 12 rocket launch, the
United States, South Korea, Japan and their European allies have
pushed to expand long-standing U.N. Security Council sanctions
on the country.
Richardson said he understood the State Department was "a
little nervous," but he and Schmidt had already postponed the
trip from December at its request.