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U.S. Not Happy With Google Chairman's Visit to North Korea

By - Source: Reuters | B 19 comments

The State Department has admitted its displeasure of Eric Schmidt's upcoming trip to North Korea.

On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that the timing was not right for Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson to visit North Korea. Despite current events, she said both men were quite aware of the government's concerns about the timing of their trip.

News of the trip first surfaced on Wednesday, reporting that both men will be making a "private humanitarian visit" and will not represent the Obama administration. Sources claim that Richardson, who will reportedly be leading the humanitarian mission, will be negotiating the release of an American prisoner who was captured last month.

But why is Schmidt going? Victor Cha, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, told the Associated Press that it was highly unlikely the Google exec planned to talk business.

"Perhaps the most intriguing part of this trip is simply the idea of it," Cha said. "[Kim Jong Un] clearly has a penchant for the modern accoutrements of life. If Google is the first small step in piercing the information bubble in Pyongyang, it could be a very interesting development."

In a New Year's Day speech to North Korea on Monday, leader Kim Jong Un said the nation is in the midst of a modern-day "industrial revolution". He's pushing to have digitized machinery in every factory and computers in every class room. Science and technology will be the path to economic development, yet giving citizens open access to the internet – the worldwide digital frontier outside the country's domestic Intranet service – won't be a part of that plan.

News of the Schmidt-Richardson trip arrives after the supposed completion of another round of rocket testing in North Korea last month. There's speculation that these rockets – AKA international ballistic missiles – have the range to strike the west coast here in the States. They can fly more than 6,200 miles carrying a warhead of about 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, experts said.

"They efficiently developed a three-stage long-range missile by using their existing Rodong and Scud missile technology," a senior military intelligence official told The New York Times, adding that the debris could also be tied to Iran.

But North Korea claims the debris discovered by South Korea was merely its Unha-3 rocket which put an earth-observation satellite in orbit as part of its "peaceful" space exploration program. Still, tensions are high as expressed by the State Department on Thursday.

"We don't think the timing of this [North Korea visit] is particularly helpful," Nuland told reporters regarding the Schmidt-Richardson trip.

 

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  • 18 Hide
    southernshark , January 4, 2013 3:49 PM
    Well whatever the State Department has been doing for the past 50 years has done nothing but fail. So I would not be too concerned about what it thought.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    southernshark , January 4, 2013 3:49 PM
    Well whatever the State Department has been doing for the past 50 years has done nothing but fail. So I would not be too concerned about what it thought.
  • 5 Hide
    dragonfang18 , January 4, 2013 4:19 PM
    How does North Korea have electricity to handle more computers? They cant even handle having lights at night.
  • 3 Hide
    mrmaia , January 4, 2013 4:25 PM
    Quote:
    "Perhaps the most intriguing part of this trip is simply the idea of it," Cha said. "[Kim Jong Un] clearly has a penchant for the modern accoutrements of life. If Google is the first small step in piercing the information bubble in Pyongyang, it could be a very interesting development."


    I don't quite see it as an "unhappiness" statement. In fact, to me it seems like the US is looking forward to the unfolding of this visit.
  • 7 Hide
    spookyman , January 4, 2013 5:10 PM
    Maybe he wanted some Korean?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 4, 2013 5:27 PM
    "There's speculation that these rockets – AKA international ballistic missiles – have the range to strike the west coast here in the States." If they can launch it to space, it can hit anywhere in the world. The media uses the "west coast" as a means to instil more fear into the western citizen. Our media's propaganda is no different than the north koreans, and most likely much less truthful.

    "peaceful" space exploration program - What if it really is peaceful, and why the quotes around peaceful? Is north korea not entitled to their own space program? They did nothing illegal when they launched that satellite into space. If I was the north I would be doing the same thing as they are now. With the rest of the world out to get them how can you blame them?




  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 4, 2013 5:32 PM
    Our Gov. should just STFU! It's plainly obvious that whatever the US gov. has done to improve relations with North Korea for decades has done absolutely zilch, as with Cuba. Sometimes you need to simply put your defenses down, in plain sight of the "enemy" and see how they react. The US gov. could stand to learn a thing or two from Mr. Schmidt.
  • 3 Hide
    xpeh , January 4, 2013 7:08 PM
    Dammit, I live on the west coast
  • 2 Hide
    danielravennest , January 4, 2013 7:18 PM
    Maybe North Korea will be the next location for Google Fiber after Kansas City. Imagine what 1 Gbps internet would do to communist control :-).
  • 1 Hide
    randomizer , January 4, 2013 9:25 PM
    North Korea is also in range of US ICBMs, and it will take far less of them to turn this relatively small country into rubble than the USA. On top of that, North Korea doesn't have a good track record of getting rockets far off the ground...
  • 1 Hide
    Benderoffender , January 4, 2013 9:46 PM
    They are still starving you say?
    To paraphrase Marie Antoinette: "Let them eat microchips!"
  • 0 Hide
    madjimms , January 5, 2013 2:06 AM
    dragonfang18How does North Korea have electricity to handle more computers? They cant even handle having lights at night.

    You have been VERY mislead...
  • 5 Hide
    madjimms , January 5, 2013 2:07 AM
    danielravennestMaybe North Korea will be the next location for Google Fiber after Kansas City. Imagine what 1 Gbps internet would do to communist control :-).

    You have no grasp of what Communism even means, do you?
  • -1 Hide
    tolham , January 5, 2013 3:45 AM
    the state department is right to be worried. if a private business man can do a better job at international relations on his own dime, then the state department is obsolete along with their multi-billion $ budget.


    Eric Schmidt, go make capitalism proud.
  • 1 Hide
    Kami3k , January 5, 2013 7:20 AM
    danielravennestMaybe North Korea will be the next location for Google Fiber after Kansas City. Imagine what 1 Gbps internet would do to communist control :-).


    Two things.

    1: You have no clue what communism actually is. None of the countries that called themselves communist have been actual communist countries.

    2. How would that help them control people? People barely even have TVs of any kind in North Korea.....

    If you were trying to tell a joke then at least not make it a fail.
  • -2 Hide
    speil , January 5, 2013 1:11 PM
    Not representing the Obama Administration? What a surprise! What presumtuous language; obviously because Schmidt is not an elected official, but merely a corporate wog.
  • 1 Hide
    JonnyDough , January 5, 2013 4:50 PM
    gloriousleader"There's speculation that these rockets – AKA international ballistic missiles – have the range to strike the west coast here in the States." If they can launch it to space, it can hit anywhere in the world. The media uses the "west coast" as a means to instil more fear into the western citizen. Our media's propaganda is no different than the north koreans, and most likely much less truthful."peaceful" space exploration program - What if it really is peaceful, and why the quotes around peaceful? Is north korea not entitled to their own space program? They did nothing illegal when they launched that satellite into space. If I was the north I would be doing the same thing as they are now. With the rest of the world out to get them how can you blame them?


    Space is only a few miles above earth. The West coast is quite a bit farther. I think your schizophrenia is kicking in. Our government's main job is to provide security and public services. This is a valid concern.
  • 1 Hide
    wild9 , January 5, 2013 5:22 PM
    Do these guys want him to bring a map back, showing where the US border with Mexico is?
  • 0 Hide
    jabliese , January 7, 2013 2:26 PM
    On the off chance some of you will want to be educated on North Korea's "peaceful" programs, google North Korea border tunnel, and enjoy.
  • 1 Hide
    hetneo , January 8, 2013 9:38 AM
    Quote:
    AKA international ballistic missiles

    Just another proof of Tom's Hardware becoming just another rubbish amateur "we don't know how to use copy/paste" faux tech news portal. Fifth line in the first paragraph of linked article from NYT should have given a clue to someone who isn't Apple fanboy what ICBM stands for. You know interCONTINENTAL ballistic missiles.
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