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What is one of the world's most prominent advocates of internet freedom doing in a country where unregulated access to information is generally either impossible or criminal?
Google chairman Eric Schmidt's "private" visit to North Korea raises many questions
Potential broker of peace on the planet?
Commercial use of personal time?
Not so secret agent of the CIA?
All or non of the above :)
Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said he told North Korean officials that they must drop barriers to global Internet access if they hope to develop their economy.
"As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world," he told reporters in Beijing on Thursday, as he returned from a three-day trip to North Korea with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He added that it would "make it harder for them to catch up economically. We made that alternative very, very clear."
Mr. Schmidt called his trip "a private visit to North Korea to talk about the free and open Internet." Mr. Richardson described the discussions with North Koreans on technology as the most productive talks of the trip, adding that North Korean officials appeared open to technological exchanges.Google's Schmidt Presses North Korea on Web Barriers [online.wsj.com]
It's described as a 'private visit.' How odd is that?
There is no North Korean embassy in the United States. U.S. citizens and residents planning travel to North Korea may obtain DPRK visas only at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing, China, which will issue visas upon authorization from the DPRK Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang.
If you wish to ask the DPRK whether your application for a visa would be approved, you can address your inquiry to the Permanent Representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York.
Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal outside the DPRK, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and political activities, engaging in unauthorized travel, or interaction with the local population.
North Korean authorities may seize documents, literature, audio and videotapes, computer equipment, compact discs
If you require emergency services, you should inform your North Korean escorts and then inform the Swedish Embassy.
It's about another instance of Bill Richardson interceding on behalf of another American citizen probably being detained for ransom (most likely not because he actually did anything to be held for "alleged crimes against the state"). It's probably something as simple as this time it's Schmidt who is footing the bill to buy-back the American citizen Kenneth Bae and in return he probably got to tag along in tow to get value for his purchase. He probably just wanted to observe first-hand how other dictatorships function.