News / Asia

Report: Google Executive to Visit North Korea

x
A top official of one of the world's best known online companies is reportedly preparing to visit a country with the least access to the Internet. The Associated Press says Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, will go to North Korea, perhaps this month. A Google spokesperson does not deny the report, but says only that the company does not comment on private travel by its officials.

Eric Schmidt is known for his advocacy of Internet freedom, so it is somewhat ironic that he intends to go to the country with perhaps the most severe restrictions on access to the web.

Only a few thousand of North Korea's elite are believed to enjoy Internet privileges.

But the Korea representative of the Asia Foundation is not surprised Schmidt would be willing to go to Pyongyang. Peter Beck says North Korea and Google have significant interest in each other.

“They've hosted a range of lectures and delegations by individuals and groups working on North Korea at their facility. And, in fact, my foundation -- the Asia Foundation -- was one of the co-sponsors of a group of ten North Korean officials who visited the United States in 2011 and one of the places that we took them to was Google,” he said.

As one of the world's most impoverished countries, North Korea appears to have few prospects as a lucrative market for Google. The top Internet search provider has a market capitalization of about $235 billion  - nearly six times North Korea's estimated total gross domestic product.

Asia Foundation's Beck says Schmidt appears to have other priorities regarding Pyongyang.

“I don't think that there are any tremendous economic opportunities for Google in North Korea. But I think it's part of Google's broader commitment of bringing information technology to the world," Beck said. "And North Korea is really the last frontier in some ways. It is really the most isolated country when it comes to the Internet and Google could be a very powerful way of bringing more of the Internet to North Korea.”

There is some speculation that Schmidt's visit could, in part, include an attempt to secure the release of an American citizen held in North Korea.

Tour operator Kenneth Bae is of Korean descent and a resident of the state of Oregon. According to a North Korean official dispatch, Bae was arrested last month for unspecified crimes against the state.

The Associated Press says  Schmidt will join a private group led by Bill Richardson, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and is a former governor of the state of New Mexico.

Richardson, in the past, has made trips to North Korea to negotiate the release of Americans held there.

The United States and North Korea have no diplomatic relations. The reclusive and impoverished state is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development activities.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hunsen from: Phnompenh
January 06, 2013 1:06 AM
It is timely visit, don't forget to tell Mr Kim behave rightly, opens his country for outside and reform otherwise, he will be obliterated from this world by his own people for his dictatorship ruthlessly imposed on North Korean people.


by: CrazyBuddhaCharlie from: Chicago IL
January 03, 2013 2:46 PM
Eric Schmidt is not Google's CEO. Steve Herman is a moron, who does not even know who the CEO of 2nd largest tech company in the world. Don't quit your day job Steve.

YouTube's CrazyBuddhaCharlie

In Response

by: JackSprat from: USA
January 04, 2013 10:42 AM
Not to defend Charlie, but the URL does say CEO, which probably isn't Mr Herman's fault.

In Response

by: Wtf from: India
January 04, 2013 5:07 AM
Where did he call him the CEO ? He used 'Executive Chairman', which is very correct.

In Response

by: Jim Bruce from: Brussels
January 04, 2013 4:55 AM
Nice to see another American without a clue... Since when did CEO stand for Executive Chairman...

Try Searching your facts before making yourself look like a total fool

Thanks for the Article Mr Herman

In Response

by: Anonymous
January 04, 2013 4:02 AM
The article never mentions Eric Schmidt as the CEO, Charlie. It clearly says "Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt" in the 4th line. Seems like you are the moron here.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid