Former U.S. Ambassdor to the UN Bill Richardson says his planned trip to North Korea with Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, is a private and humanitarian visit.
Richardson, who is also a former governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico, said on January 4 that neither he nor Schmidt would be carrying any U.S. government messages to the North.
On January 3, the U.S. State Department said the trip's timing is not helpful.
North Korea is under international sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests.
Richardson, who has negotiated with North Korea in the past on various issues, also said he is concerned about a U.S. citizen detained in North Korea, Kenneth Bae, and would discuss his arrest.
Details about whom Richardson and Schmidt expect to meet in Pyongyang are still unclear.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AP