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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid