Richardson says 'US-North Korea relationship in bad shape'

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) said the U.S.'s relationship with North Korea is in "very bad shape," despite the recent release of U.S. citizen Jeffrey Fowley, 56.

Richardson, who's visited North Korea nearly 10 times in his work as a diplomat, attributed the failed relationship to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's brass regime.

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"He's ordered nuclear detonation, missile tests — he hasn't exactly warmed the hearts of his neighbors and the U.S.-North Korea relationship is in very bad shape right now," he said on Sunday's "The Cats Roundtable" with John Catsimatidis on New York's AM 970.

Richardson pointed to a rare, high-level meeting between North Korea and South Korea and the unexpected release of Fowley as signs the nation wants to restore its relationship with the U.S.

“I think they [North Korea] want a dialogue with the United States — the fact that they released an American without any conditions. … When they released Jeffrey Fowley from Ohio, they didn’t ask for anything in return; they just released him. I think that’s a good sign. Maybe the next step will be talks with Korea and the U.S., and we’ll try to get them to reduce or terminate their nuclear weapons. But I wouldn’t count on it. They’re so unpredictable. It’s their only card — nuclear weapons.”

Fowley, one of three Americans held captive in North Korea, was released Tuesday after being detained for nearly six months. Two other Americans continue to be held.

When asked about a reunification of the Korean Peninsula, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations appeared hopeful.

“Eventually, I think it’s inevitable,” he said, comparing the situation to that of the 1990 reunification of East and West Germany. “But it [reunification] won’t happen in the short term,” he clarified.