A nine-member delegation, which includes Google chairman Eric Schmidt and former Gov. Bill Richardson, take a four-day tour of the communist country to learn about North Korean technology and support open Internet access.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has spent the last three days with a private delegation on a humanitarian trip to North Korea. The delegation, which includes former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, arrived in North Korea on Monday to stress more open Internet access and cellphones for the tightly restricted country.
“The citizens of the DPRK [North Korea] will be better off with more cellphones and an active Internet,” Mr. Richardson said to the Associated Press. "Those are the ... messages we've given to a variety of foreign policy officials, scientists and government officials."
According to the AP, experts see North Korea as one of the least connected countries. North Korea has rigid control on the flow of information and the interactions of citizens with the outside world. Many argue that the strict rules and censorship have caused the small Asian country to suffer in its isolation.
Kim Jong Un, the young leader of the Communist nation, vowed to improve the economy in his New Year speech on January 1. Un has urged citizens to expand their knowledge of science and technology as means for economic improvement. The AP reported that new propaganda signs have been spotted across Pyongyang telling citizens to “push back the frontiers” and “break through the cutting edge.”
Most North Koreans currently have a domestic intranet system as opposed to the World Wide Web.
Mr. Schmidt, who oversaw Google’s growth into an Internet giant, visited Kim Il Sung University on Tuesday. He spoke with students that have global Internet access (with permission) for research purposes.
On Wednesday he visited the Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang’s main library, before going to see the Korea Computer Center. Several years ago, Mr. Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il, is quoted as saying: “Now is the era for science and technology. It is the era of computers."