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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs