Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has arrived in North Korea for what he has called a private and humanitarian visit to the totalitarian country.
It is a controversial trip for Schmidt, for observers wonder about his motives. He is accompanied by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who has been to North Korea a half-dozen times to help secure the release of U.S. nationals held by the country. Last month, as the BBC recounts, North Korea arrested a Korean-born U.S. citizen on unspecified charges.
(Google’s Eric Schmidt)
Last week a U.S. state department official said the Obama administration doesn’t think the timing of the trip is “helpful,” given that it comes weeks after North Korea launched a rocket into space despite world condemnation.
Before they left, according to the Associated Press, Richardson told reporters that he and Schmidt plan to meet with North Korean military and economic leaders.
Given the stubborn nature of North Korea’s leaders over the decades, it is hard to believe Schmidt will have any success in persuading the country to be more open. On the other hand, his presence may lend a hand to Richardson’s efforts on behalf of the detained U.S. citizen.