Thursday, December 23, 2010

Quiet Diplomacy

While the media hasn't paid much attention to it, one of the more important pieces of news of the past few weeks might be Bill Richardson's "unofficial" trip to North Korea. Remember the heightened tensions between the two Koreas around military exercises? Then North Korea did a sudden about face, backing down from the militaristic posturing, with Richardson's visit.

Funny, but it's the BBC reporting it, not the American media:

Bill Richardson has emphasised that his visit to North Korea - at a time of very high tension on the Korean peninsula - was in an unofficial capacity.

A former US ambassador to the United Nations, he has visited North Korea on several occasions in the past.

"My sense is the North Koreans realise that they have moved too negatively against negotiations, that they have taken some very bad steps and they wanted to move in the right direction," Mr Richardson said.

"They agreed to the proposals that I made.... Now there has to be deeds, not words."

I've always considered Bill Richardson to be a very savvy, shrewd diplomat. While it's not clear what he did (or could) offer North Korea, it is clear that they backed down from a very dangerous position. North Korea does have a long history of not negotiating in good faith, so this may end up going nowhere. But at least the tensions are being ratcheted down a bit. And that is "news".


Lockwood said...

I was sort of rooting for Richardson as Sec of State. I agree he makes a good, effective negotiator, though I was disappointed in what (I thought) was a weaker primary run than I expected. And yes, US papers are crap. The other British online paper you should check out (if you don't already) is The Guardian. My favorite by a long shot these days.

pygalgia said...

Lockwood, as usual, I agree with you.
I do read the guardian almost daily.
I was a volunteer early on in Richardson's presidential bid, and have great respect for him. But he's "unelectable" in our current political system, too "unsexy" for TV. I would have been happy to see him as Sec. of State, and wouldn't be surprised to see him there sometime in the future.
Happy holidays, my friend.

One Fly said...

Let's send him over to the Ivory Coast.

Best wishes to both of you.

lisahgolden said...

Thank you for sharing this. I swear, does the U.S. "news" even cover news anymore?

I also wanted to thank you for the good wishes and to wish you a very merry Christmas.