Global internet access is key to a developing economy, stresses search engine giant's executive chairman.
During his visit to the communist state, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has urged North Korea for an open web.
He said that his private delegation warned officials that global internet access was key to developing its economy. "As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their view of the world," Schmidt told reporters when he returned to Beijing. The lack of such access would "make it harder for them to catch up economically. We made that alternative very, very clear."
Schmidt made the visit despite the U.S. government expressing their dissatisfaction. He flew to the country as part of a delegation led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He described the trip as a "private humanitarian mission." Richardson added: "We had a good opportunity to talk about expanding the Internet and cell phones in the DPRK."
The U.S. State Department said the visit's timing was not right as it's subject to U.S. economic sanctions. It referred to recent missile launches by North Korea.
Either way, North Korea is globally renowned for the rules it has in place. It restricts several popular websites for its citizens, as well as making it mantadory for online publications to showcase the name of the region's head of state, Kim Jong-un, in a larger size when compared to the accompanying text.