Richardson boosts foreign-policy credentials

Presidential candidate and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), currently in the middle of a diplomatic mission to North Korea, is adding to his weighty foreign-policy credentials as his campaign presses on with the theme that he is the most qualified candidate in the field.

Richardson, who headed the White House-sanctioned delegation, is in North Korea to secure the return of the remains of six American soldiers killed in the Korean War, as well as to persuade North Korea to continue with anti-nuclear talks and guidelines.

Richardson’s office said Tuesday that after meeting with Gen. Ri Chan Bok, North Korea’s commanding general of the demilitarized zone, assurances had been made that the North Koreans would turn over the remains and identities of three of the six soldiers as determined by their dog-tags.

The news comes as Richardson’s campaign continues in its efforts to portray Richardson as the presidential candidate most qualified on all fronts, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

The news of the day for the Richardson campaign stands in stark contrast to the daily releases from other campaigns, offering such news as New Hampshire campaign schedules.

Despite Richardson’s heavy résumé, he remains in the second tier of candidates, distantly trailing Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) in the polls and fundraising.

But the governor says he is optimistic that in time voters will look to him because of his experience.

A ceremony marking the return of the soldiers’ remains is scheduled for Thursday in Seoul, South Korea, followed by an arrival honor guard in Honolulu where DNA tests will be performed, Richardson’s office said.

“This is a very positive gesture on the part of the North Korean government,” Richardson said in a statement. “Hopefully it will help heal the wounds from the Korean War and start a process to bring closure to the thousands of American families awaiting word of their loved ones who perished.”