SEOUL — A high-profile US state governor was visiting North Korea on Friday in a bid to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula as South Korea planned to conduct artillery drills similar to ones that prompted Pyongyang to shell a front-line island last month.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has frequently acted as an unofficial envoy to the North, began the first full day of his trip, though details of his schedule were unclear. Upon arrival Thursday, he was greeted at Pyongyang's airport by a senior North Korean official after telling reporters in Beijing he expected to be given some sort of message by the North.
"My objective is to see if we can reduce the tension in the Korean peninsula," Richardson said at the airport in North Korea, according to Associated Press Television News. "I'm going to have a whole series of talks with North Korean officials, and I look forward to my discussions."