Schmidt, Richardson Visit North Korea

Google chairman Eric Schmidt is visiting the Hermit Kingdom, where few people have ever been allowed to access Google, let alone the billions of web pages it can search for information. Schmidt is part of a delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a Google executive in North Korea.

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INSKEEP: The executive is Eric Schmidt of Google. He's visiting the Hermit Kingdom, where few people have ever been allowed access to Google, let alone the billions of Web pages it can search for information.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Schmidt is part of a delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. The group is on what's billed as a private humanitarian mission, in part aimed at helping free an American citizen detained there.

INSKEEP: Now, Richardson says that Schmidt has joined the group as a private citizen. Some members of the delegation have attempted to explain what the Google chairman intends to do while there, but the more they say, the less clear it is.

MONTAGNE: We do know that Google's Schmidt is a big advocate of Internet connectivity, which would give him plenty to discuss with the North Koreans. And we know the trip is proceeding, despite objections by the State Department. U.S. diplomats call the timing of the trip unhelpful, since North Korea recently launched a satellite.

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