- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
- Holiday cheer: Airline grants Christmas wishes for 250 unsuspecting passengers
- U.S. vet held in North Korea says statement was coerced
- NTSB hearing on San Francisco airliner crash postponed
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford insists he has dried out, vows sobriety test
- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
Google chairman arrives in North Korea
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Google‘s chairman wants a first-hand look at North Korea’s economy and social media during his private visit Monday to the communist nation, his delegation said, despite misgivings in Washington over the timing of the trip.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of one of the world’s biggest Internet companies, is the highest-profile U.S. executive to visit North Korea — a country with notoriously restrictive online policies — since young leader Kim Jong-un took power a year ago.
Mr. Schmidt’s visit has drawn criticism from the U.S. State Department because it comes only weeks after a controversial North Korean rocket launch; it has also prompted speculation about what the businessman hopes to accomplish.
Mr. Richardson, speaking ahead of the flight from Beijing, called the trip a private, humanitarian mission.
“This is not a Google trip, but I’m sure he’s interested in some of the economic issues there, the social media aspect. So this is why we are teamed up on this,” Mr. Richardson said without elaborating on what he meant by the “social media aspect.”
“We’ll meet with North Korean political leaders. We’ll meet with North Korean economic leaders, military. We’ll visit some universities. We don’t control the visit. They will let us know what the schedule is when we get there,” he said.
U.S. officials have criticized the four-day trip. North Korea on Dec. 12 fired a satellite into space using a long-range rocket. Washington condemned the launch, which it considers a test of ballistic missile technology, as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions barring Pyongyang from developing its nuclear and missile programs. The Security Council is deliberating whether to take further action.
The trip was planned well before North Korea announced its plans to send a satellite into space, two people with knowledge of the delegation’s plans told The Associated Press. AP first reported the group’s plans last Thursday.
Mr. Schmidt, a staunch proponent of Internet connectivity and openness, is expected to make a donation during the visit, while Mr. Richardson will try to discuss the detainment of a U.S. citizen jailed in Pyongyang, members of the delegation told AP. They asked not to be named, saying the trip was a private visit.
“We’re going to try to inquire the status, see if we can see him, possibly lay the groundwork for him coming home,” Mr. Richardson said of the U.S. citizen. “I heard from his son who lives in Washington state, who asked me to bring him back. I doubt we can do it on this trip.”
The visit comes just days after Mr. Kim, who took power following the Dec. 17, 2011, death of his father, Kim Jong-il, laid out a series of policy goals for North Korea in a lengthy New Year’s speech. He cited expanding science and technology as a means to improving the country’s economy as a key goal for 2013.
North Korea’s economy has languished for decades, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which since the mid-1940s had provided the country with an economic safety net. North Korea, which has very little arable land, has relied on outside help to feed its people since a famine in the 1990s.
In recent years, North Korea has aimed to modernize its farms and digitize its factories. Farmers told the AP that management policies were revamped to encourage production by providing workers with incentives.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- PRUDEN: Waiting for Nelson Mandela without the tears
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow