January 10, 2013

Google's Top Man in Pyongyang

Of all the unusual and unexpected foreign visitors to North Korea, Google's executive chairman and tech guru Eric Schmidt's visit this week to Pyongyang has raised a plenty of questions. Though this is not portrayed as a Google company trip, the very presence of high-profile Schmidt (and his interest and willingness to personally visit North Korea) highlights the growth and potentials of cyber technology in North Korea. 

Schmidt is accompaying veteran diplomat and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, on a humanitarian trip.  The trip clearly perturbed the U.S. State Department, which maintains a rigid policy of isolating North Korea as punishments for long-range missile/rocket testings. But there are also benefits to this kind of civilian-initiated diplomacy as wider contacts with North Korea will likely bring new avenues and opportunities of mutual cooperation and a path of understanding towards resolutions of contending political and military issues.

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