News / Asia

    North Korea Gives US Delegation Rare Look at Internet Use

    Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt (C) and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson (2nd R) watch as a North Korean student surfs the Internet at a computer lab during a tour of Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, January 8, 2013.
    Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt (C) and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson (2nd R) watch as a North Korean student surfs the Internet at a computer lab during a tour of Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, January 8, 2013.
    North Korea has provided a small group of Americans with a rare look at the few people who can access the Internet in the tightly-controlled and impoverished state.

    The private delegation of Google executives and former New Mexico state governor Bill Richardson were given a tour of an Internet lab Tuesday at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University. They spoke with several students, who could be seen using Google to look for information online.

    North Korea's authoritarian government bars the vast majority of citizens from accessing the Internet to shield them from foreign influences. But in recent years, it has permitted some students of elite universities to search the Web under strict conditions and monitoring.  

    • Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt and former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson look through an information technology text book at the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang, North Korea, January 9, 2013.
    • North Koreans work at computer terminals inside the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang, North Korea, January 9, 2013.
    • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt and former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson look at soldiers working on computers at the Grand Peoples Study House, Pyongyang, North Korea, January 9, 2013.
    • Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson tries on 3-D glasses as he looks at North Korean-developed computer technology with Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt in Pyongyang, North Korea, January 9, 2013.
    • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt stands on a balcony at the Grand Peoples Study House overlooking Juche Tower in Pyongyang, North Korea, January 9, 2013.
    • Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, takes photographs as he tours a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea, January 8, 2013.
    • Students work at terminals inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea, January 8, 2013.
    • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt arrives at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on January 7, 2013.
    • Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is interviewed by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport, North Korea, January 7, 2013.

    The American delegation arrived Monday in Pyongyang on a four-day visit that Richardson described as "humanitarian." The U.S. State Department has criticized the trip, calling its timing "unhelpful."  

    The visit follows North Korea's test-launch of a long-range rocket last month - a move denounced by Washington as a threat to regional security and a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

    Pyongyang said the test is part of a peaceful program to send a satellite into space. But Washington sees it as a bid to develop long-range missiles capable of striking the United States.

    Richardson met with North Korean foreign ministry officials and described the talks as "good, productive, but frank." He did not elaborate.

    In an article published Tuesday in the New York Daily News, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said Richardson and the Google executives have "joined a long list of Americans and others used by [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's] family dictatorship for political advantage."

    Bolton said a better humanitarian approach to North Korea would be to "undercut and end" that dictatorship, rather than provide assistance that "perpetuates" it.

    South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said Seoul hopes the Americans' visit will promote "peace and stability" on the Korean peninsula.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora