News / USA

    US: Bad Timing for Google Exec's N. Korea Trip

    FILE - Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt in London, July 26, 2012.
    FILE - Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt in London, July 26, 2012.
    Reuters
    The U.S. State Department said on Thursday the time was not right for Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and former diplomat Bill Richardson to travel to North Korea.
     
    State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said Schmidt and Richardson would be traveling as private citizens, not representatives of the U.S. government.
     
    "Frankly, we don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful," Nuland told reporters, citing Pyongyang's December launch of a long-range rocket. "They are well aware of our views."
     
    FILE - Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson fields a question during a symposium at the University of Southern California, September 24, 2012.FILE - Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson fields a question during a symposium at the University of Southern California, September 24, 2012.
    x
    FILE - Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson fields a question during a symposium at the University of Southern California, September 24, 2012.
    FILE - Former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson fields a question during a symposium at the University of Southern California, September 24, 2012.
    A source familiar with the matter on Thursday confirmed an Associated Press report that Schmidt planned to visit North Korea with Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and diplomatic troubleshooter.
     
    The AP said Schmidt, a top figure in the U.S. technology industry and a key executive at the world's leading search engine company, could visit as early as this month, but it said it was unclear who he would meet or what his agenda is.
     
    Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. North Korea is one of the world's most repressive states, with Internet access limited largely to the most influential officials and media content rigidly controlled.
     
    Nuland stressed that Schmidt and Richardson were not acting on behalf of the United States.
     
    "They are private citizens ... traveling in an unofficial capacity," she said. "They are not going to be accompanied by any U.S. officials; they are not carrying any messages from us. They are private citizens and they are making their own decisions."
     
    On Wednesday, Google did not directly respond to a question about whether Schmidt was going to North Korea, although Google spokeswoman Samantha Smith's response suggested a visit would not be for company business.
     
    "We do not comment on personal travel," said Smith when asked about the AP report on Wednesday.
     
    North Korea said its Dec. 12 rocket launch put a weather satellite in orbit, but critics say it was aimed at nurturing the kind of technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora