Former Gov. Bill Richardson and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt arrived in North Korea according to multiple reports.
The two are in the secretive nation for a “private humanitarian visit.” Richardson has said he is visiting to seek the release of Kenneth Bae, a naturalized United States citizen who was born in South Korea. Bae is
The U.S. State Department is not in favor of the high-profile trip. They say the timing is not ideal, after North Korea launched a long range rocket last month.
Richardson is a former United States ambassador to the United Nations who has had a number of contacts with North Korea. This includes a trip by North Korean officials to Santa Fe to ostensibly discuss renewable energy while Richardson was still in office.
Last year, Jared and Schmidt met defectors from North Korea, a state that ranks bottom of Reporters Without Borders annual survey of Internet and press freedom.
Media reports and think tanks say that officials from the North Korean government went to Google’s headquarters in 2011, something the U.S. technology giant declined to comment on.
Reuters says that Google characterized Schmidt’s visit as “personal travel.”
North Korea has extensive control over the internet, with only a small group of elites allowed to access the internet.
The trip is supposed to last four days.