(CNN) – A day after meeting with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, two North Korean diplomats will meet Thursday with community and business leaders in the state to discuss renewable energy initiatives, the governor's office said.
Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said the governor would not be part of the briefings because he would be in Las Cruces. However, the governor will try to meet them at the Albuquerque airport before they leave, Gallegos said.
After meeting Wednesday with Kim Myong Gil and Taek Jong Ho - senior diplomats with the North Korean mission to the United Nations - Richardson said that North Korea wanted direct talks with the United States.
"I think there's a little bit of a thaw," he told CNN's American Morning on Thursday. "I think they wanted to basically send a message that they're ready to engage in a dialogue with the United States."
He had said Wednesday that North Korea believed it is owed bilateral talks with the United States after the communist government released two detained American journalists this month, and that Pyongyang did not want the six-party talks, which had been aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program.
Senior Obama administration officials quickly rejected the notion, saying that six-party talks are still the proper venue for such a dialogue. They emphasized that Richardson was not negotiating on the president's behalf.
The administration officials said North Korea can choose one of two paths: either continued provocation by testing missiles or a more peaceful road on which they live up to previous commitments.
Richardson suggested Thursday that a compromise within six-party talks might best handle the situation. "Have some bilateral discussions with the North Koreans," he said.
"Call it all an adjunct of the six-party talks. But this is diplomacy, this is engagement, so I think both sides need to come together on some
formulation, and I think the atmosphere is a lot better to do that."
He said the North Koreans "basically said everything was on the table," in terms of what they would discuss.
The North Korean diplomats' visit comes after former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to gain the release of the two detained U.S.
journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling. During the visit Clinton met with reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, whose government is under U.N. sanctions for its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons program.
"They do feel they are owed a gesture on the U.S. part," Richardson said Wednesday, adding, "I don't believe that should be the case because this was a humanitarian gesture that needed to happen."
The White House has said that Clinton was not carrying any message - written or oral - from President Barack Obama, and it described Clinton's trip as a "solely private mission to secure the release of two Americans."
Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has traveled to North Korea several times, most recently in April 2007 to secure the return of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.
He said the North Korean officials had approached him with the idea of this latest meeting.
–CNN's Ed Henry, Paul Vercammen, Elise Labott and Candy Crowley contributed to this report.