Governor Bill Richardson U.S. Congressman (1982-1996) – U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1998) – and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton (1998-2000), 30th Governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize four times. nominations.
J. Catsimatidis: Good morning, America. This is the Cats Roundtable, John Catsimatidis here. And it’s a wonderful weekend. It’s Easter Sunday for all our Christian friends, and for our Jewish friends, it is passover. With us this morning is Governor Bill Richardson. He was Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of Energy, and an expert on things that are going on in North Korea. Good morning, Governor Richardson. How are you this morning?
B. Richardson: I am fine, John. Happy Easter to you.
J. Catsimatidis: Thank you so much. Tell me, there’s been all kinds of news lately, and mixed news, that the North Korean President has visited Putin, or was going to visit with Putin. What do you hear?
B. Richardson: What’s happening is North Korea is pushing for a new summit with President Trump. He’s trying to get a new ally, Russia, to send a message to China and the United States that he’s got new friends that might help him. And then thirdly, I think Kim Jong-un has been hurt a bit by the fact that the last summit failed, and sanctions weren’t released on North Korea by the United States. What he’s doing is maneuvering, and getting some leverage. Shooting a missile, although a short range missile, to say, “I’m still around and I’m not satisfied with the way things are going.” That’s what he’s doing, John. He’s a crafty character.
J. Catsimatidis: Very crafty. He was trained in schools in Switzerland, wasn’t it?
B. Richardson: He was, yes. And he knows English. Boarding school in Switzerland. He’s got a vision. It’s an evil vision, but you can’t underestimate him.
J. Catsimatidis: I saw that action in that James Bond movie a few years ago. Tell us your opinion, will Putin give him the right time a day? Why would Putin go against China for North Korea?
B. Richardson: He would stay close to China. What Putin wants is, “Okay, I’m also a player in any negotiation with North Korea.” Putin is important, Russia, because they are members of the UN Security Counsel that enforces sanctions on North Korea. They can veto anything. They usually follow North Korea, but the main interest of Russia, they can’t get too overextended into Central Asia, Eastern Europe. About the only thing Putin can do is violate sanctions. If you look at the map, John, North Korea and Russia have both a very small border, a coastal border around Vladivostok. What Putin, I think maybe doing is oil transfers in violations of sanctions, anyway that he can help North Korea. And then North Korea says, “Okay, I got a new friend in the region. It’s Russia.” And Russia’s big. It benefits both sides for them to have a summit.
J. Catsimatidis: There’s also rumors around that he wants to test some new short range missile’s, or cruise missile’s. What do you hear about that?
B. Richardson: Well, he has tested a short range missile. Not nuclear, not long range. It’s a message that he sends saying, “Hey, I’m around, and I have missile’s. Negotiations with the US aren’t going well. You gotta listen to me.” They provoke. This is their standard negotiating strategy, sending messages that they’re major players and please listen to us. “President Trump, we need sanctions relief if you want us to take steps to denuclearize.” That’s what he’s saying.
J. Catsimatidis: He also has demanded that Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo be replaced. That’s telling the President of the United States that you should replace Pompeo.
B. Richardson: That’s not going to happen. This is the … North Koreans do this, John. They degrade our negotiators. They used to criticize personally President Obama. Now they’re doing it with Pompeo. This is standard rhetoric from the North Koreans, and that’s not going to happen. Obviously, there’s a stalemate by Pompeo and by the special envoy, Biegun. They want North Korea to take steps to denuclearize, and they haven’t done anything. The North Koreans are mad and so they send all these messages. Rhetoric like that, over the years, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. What I worry is that we’re not going to get to the negotiating table, and both sides seek a compromise, some sanction’s relief, but the North Koreans take concrete steps to get rid of some of their weapons, and some of their missile’s, but with verification. That’s a good compromise in between that I think is possible.
J. Catsimatidis: Your opinion is, maybe we should let Trump wait it out. Meet with him when he … I think he also made additional demand that they want actual results or demands on the table before they actually meet. What have you heard about that?
B. Richardson: I first, on President Trump, he should be patient. He’s sometimes very inpatient, and he likes the big summits with a lot of press. He should just let his people get the North Koreans to make some concessions to get another summit, because that’s big for Kim Jong-un, having summits with the President of the United States. I think yes, you have to have some agreement before a potential summit, before you have the summit. This didn’t happen in Vietnam. As a result, it was a disaster. The fact that both sides walked away with nothing. I think a good compromise, John, is some denuclearization, some missile curbing, for exchange for some sanction’s relief. Some. Some. We have so many sanctions on them, I think we can afford to do that. We have to keep South Korea, they want to push us more towards liberalizing on … They gotta cool down a bit. We got to make sure Japan is comfortable with the negotiations, and we can’t forget China. If China doesn’t enforce the sanctions on North Korea, the pressure on North Korea is going to reduce significantly. We got to be careful and negotiate carefully with China.
J. Catsimatidis: I understand, just to reconcile our discussion. The discussions with Putin is just a possibly through that small border they have with North Korea, possibly bringing in some-
B. Richardson: Yeah, mainly oil.
J. Catsimatidis: Oh, oil, yes.
B. Richardson: Maybe in violation of some of the oil sanctions. That’s what they would bring in, the ships.
J. Catsimatidis: I understand you were in Europe lately?
B. Richardson: That’s right, John. I’ve been in Rome. I’ve had a very good meeting with a couple of other people, with Pope Francis on the abolition of the death penalty, on a number of social justice issues. I’m a big fan of Pope Francis, and I think he’s a great and popular leader with millions of Catholics, billions of Catholics, and I think he’s a great constructive force in the world.
J. Catsimatidis: Well, I’m sure he’s a wonderful man. He’s a man of peace, and urges peace. I guess you had a great meeting with him. It’s always good to get blessed by the Pope.
B. Richardson: Well, I had a couple little crucifixes, and others … I’m a Catholic. Not a great Catholic, but my family, over the years, Hispanics, very Catholic. We had a very good meeting, with a couple of other people. Not a big confidant, but I’m a big fan of his and what he stands for, I think, is very important. Social justice. Protecting poor people. Standing up against discrimination for refugees. I think he’s a very constructive force in the word, John.
J. Catsimatidis: We got about a minute left, Ambassador. Anything else you want to tell America on Easter Sunday?
B. Richardson: Well, I’m just very worried on the Pope issue, that individuals like Stephen Bannon, and other politicians, are trying to use this sexual abuse scandal in the church to criticize the Pope. The main criticism they have is political, is that he’s a Progressive, and Bannon is not a Progressive. I think keep these politicians away from traditional religions, and the Vatican, and the Pope. Let’s all celebrate the fact that we have a great Pope and not listen to the Stephen Bannon’s of the world that are trying to politicize the church and the Pope.
J. Catsimatidis: Governor Bill Richardson, thank you so much for taking out some time on Easter Sunday, and for talking to America, and give them what your feelings are, what’s going on in North Korea. And telling us about your blessings with the Pope is wonderful, too.
B. Richardson: Thank you.
J. Catsimatidis: We’ll catch up with you again real soon.
B. Richardson: Thank you very much, John. All the best. Happy Easter.
J. Catsimatidis: Thank you. Happy Easter. This is the Cats Roundtable. We’ll be right back.
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