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Google's Schmidt takes a techie tour of North Korea

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David Guttenfelder/AP

(Read caption) Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, back row left, and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, back row right, look at North Korean soldiers working on computers at the Grand Peoples Study House in Pyongyang, North Korea.

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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.”


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