News / Asia

North Korea Urged to Stop Weapons Tests, Expand Internet

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (C, back row) looks at North Koreans working on computers at the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang, January 9, 2013 in this picture released by the North Korea's KCNA news agency.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (C, back row) looks at North Koreans working on computers at the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang, January 9, 2013 in this picture released by the North Korea's KCNA news agency.
VOA News
A private delegation of Google executives and other U.S. leaders touring North Korea says it is urging Pyongyang to halt its weapons program and allow for expanded use of the Internet and cell phones.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is leading the delegation, told the Associated Press on Wednesday the group has also been pushing for the fair treatment of a U.S. citizen detained in the reclusive communist country.

"The delegation has had three messages: first, a moratorium on missile launches and no nuclear test. Secondly, the American detainee: treat him properly, give him proper justice. And then third, expand the Internet, expand cell phones," said Richardson.

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt arrived in Pyongyang on Monday for a four-day visit they have 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.

It also comes after North Korea announced the arrest of Korean-American tourist Kenneth Bae, and threatened to put him on trial for unspecified crimes against the state.

On Tuesday, the delegation toured an Internet lab at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung University, where they were given a rare look at the few people who can access the Internet in the tightly-controlled state.

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.  

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

  • 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.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

update At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid