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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Richardson Optimistic After Talks

WASHINGTON -- A senior North Korean diplomat contends his country does not intend to build nuclear weapons, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said Saturday as he concluded three days of talks with envoys from the communist nation.

U.S. officials reacted with skepticism. While North Korean representatives were meeting with Richardson, the country "continued to take steps in the wrong direction ... that would raise tensions with the international community," State Department spokeswoman Nancy Beck said.

"The United States has made clear that we are prepared to talk to North Korea about its willingness to meet its obligations to the international community," she said.

"In New Mexico, North Korea did state its willingness to have a dialogue. ... We will look carefully at everything the North Koreans said in New Mexico."

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that North Korea's deputy UN ambassador, Han Song Ryol, said during the talks that "North Korea has no intentions of building nuclear weapons."

Later, in an interview, he said he hoped "North Korea will tone down the rhetoric and start engaging the U.S. in a better atmosphere."

After the talks, Richardson said he believed that the North Koreans "now understand the depth of international concern over the issue."