Computer and cellphone use is gaining ground in North Korea’s larger cities.
However, most North Koreans only have access to a domestic Intranet system, not the World Wide Web. For North Koreans, Internet use is still strictly regulated and allowed only with approval.
Google now has offices in more than 40 countries, including all three of North Korea’s neighbors: Russia, South Korea and China, another country criticized for systematic Internet censorship.
Accompanying Mr. Schmidt is Jared Cohen, a former U.S. State Department policy and planning adviser who heads Google‘s New York-based think tank. The two collaborated on a book about the Internet’s role in shaping society called “The New Digital Age,” which comes out in April.
Also leading the delegation is Kun “Tony” Namkung, a Korea expert who has made frequent trips to North Korea over the past 25 years and has worked as a consultant for The Associated Press.
• Associated Press writer Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.