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N.M. governor offers to mediate N. Korea

ALBUQUERQUE, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says, as a former U.N. ambassador, he's willing to talk with North Korea on its nuclear program.

In his U.N. role, Richardson negotiated with Pyongyang on five occasions on various issues, the Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal reported Tuesday.

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"I would do it, but only if the (Bush) administration asks," Richardson, a Democrat, told the newspaper in a telephone interview. "What makes more sense right now is someone directly connected to the administration going. That would be more useful."

The idea was supported by Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., and a former National Security Council aide.

"Bill Richardson has said we should open another channel of communication-- well, send him as part of the delegation," said Wilson.

North Korea created an international uproar Monday when it claimed to have conducted a successful underground nuclear test explosion.

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