Discuss as:

Bill Richardson talks North Korea

From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
In an interview on MSNBC, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said that his talks today with two visiting North Korean diplomats suggested that the temperature has cooled down in the relationship -- after a period of increasing hostility. 

Richardson said North Korea is now prepared to have a dialogue with the United States again, but that Pyongyang is still resisting participating in the regional six-party talks that the U.S. has demanded. He said the visiting diplomats spoke positively of the meeting with Bill Clinton and seem to want to engage. The governor stressed that they requested the meeting, and that he is not negotiating in any way for the Obama administration. 

"Maybe there is a little thaw signaled here," Richardson said, adding that the State Department approved the visit. (The diplomats are attached to the North Korean UN mission in New York and need permission to travel outside the radius of NYC.)

Asked what he may have learned about the health of Kim Jong Il, Richardson said "he did look pretty healthy to me" (in pictures from the Clinton trip).

On North Korea's bargaining posture, Richardson said, "The North Koreans clearly feel they are owed something, that they released the two Americans that they want something in return."

Asked about the North Korean demand for one on one talks with the U.S., Richardson said, "I agree it's going to be hard to keep South Korea, China, Japan out of the conversation with North Korea." But Richardson suggested that maybe there is a framework within six-party talks for one-on-one talks, as has happened before.