CEO Eric Schmidt: A few days ago, we brought you a story discussing Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt and his potential visit to North Korea. At the time, the details of the trip were unclear. However, things have become quite clear over the past day with Schmidt touching down in the communist country.
While traveling to another country is not typically a big deal, especially for high powered business people like Schmidt, when that other country is North Korea people are sure to keep their eyes open.
A recent story from the Associated Press explains why:
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of one of the world's biggest Internet companies, is the highest-profile U.S. executive to visit North Korea — a country with notoriously restrictive online policies — since young leader Kim Jong Un took power a year ago. His visit has drawn criticism from the U.S. State Department because it comes only weeks after a controversial North Korean rocket launch; it has also prompted speculation about what the businessman hopes to accomplish.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who has visited the country multiple times over the past 20 years, accompanies Schmidt on his trip.
While many believe that his time in North Korea has something to do with the future of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Richardson cleared the air by saying:
This is not a Google trip, but I'm sure he's (Schmidt) interested in some of the economic issues there, the social media aspect. So this is why we are teamed up on this.
In the same article, he went on to add:
We'll meet with North Korean political leaders. We'll meet with North Korean economic leaders, military. We'll visit some universities. We don't control the visit. They will let us know what the schedule is when we get there.
What does the United States think about all this? While there was no way to stop the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive from visiting North Korea, it is safe to say that US officials are unhappy with his decision.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland discussed the trip with reporters last week, saying: