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Google exec gets look at NKoreans using Internet

  • Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is interviewed by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Richardson arrived in the North Korean capital with Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, and called the trip a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

    Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is interviewed by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Richardson arrived in the North Korean capital with Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, and called the trip a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, center, arrives at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, center, arrives at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt is surrounded by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital, along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

    Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt is surrounded by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital, along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, left, disembarks from an airport transfer bus after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Behind him, from left to right, are Google Ideas think tank director Jared Cohen and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, left, disembarks from an airport transfer bus after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Behind him, from left to right, are Google Ideas think tank director Jared Cohen and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • A North Korean student works at a computer terminal inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 during a tour by Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    A North Korean student works at a computer terminal inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 during a tour by Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, takes photographs as he tours a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, takes photographs as he tours a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • North Korean students work at computer terminals inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 during a tour by Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    North Korean students work at computer terminals inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 during a tour by Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, third from left, and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, second from right, watch as a North Korean student surfs the Internet at a computer lab during a tour of Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, third from left, and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, second from right, watch as a North Korean student surfs the Internet at a computer lab during a tour of Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

  • Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is interviewed by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Richardson arrived in the North Korean capital with Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, and called the trip a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
  • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, center, arrives at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
  • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt is surrounded by journalists after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital, along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
  • Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, left, disembarks from an airport transfer bus after arriving at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Behind him, from left to right, are Google Ideas think tank director Jared Cohen and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
  • A North Korean student works at a computer terminal inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 during a tour by Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
  • Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, takes photographs as he tours a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
  • North Korean students work at computer terminals inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 during a tour by Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
  • Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, third from left, and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, second from right, watch as a North Korean student surfs the Internet at a computer lab during a tour of Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Schmidt 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. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Google’s executive chairman is getting a firsthand look at how students at North Korea’s top university use the internet – including Google.

An American delegation that includes Google’s Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson visited Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang yesterday.

The students showed the visitors how they search for documents using Google and Wikipedia.

Richardson is leading a group that he says is making a “private, humanitarian” trip to North Korea. The country is widely considered to have the world’s most restrictive internet policies.

Some North Koreans can access a domestic intranet site as part of a growing push to promote computer use. But only a small segment has permission to surf the world wide web.

Schmidt is the highest-profile U.S. executive to visit North Korea 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.

Schmidt arrived on a commercial Air China flight with Richardson. Richardson, speaking ahead of the flight from Beijing, called the trip a private, humanitarian mission.

“This is not a Google trip, but I’m sure he’s interested in some of the economic issues there, the social media aspect. So this is why we are teamed up on this,” Richardson said without elaborating on what he meant by the “social media aspect.”

“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,” he said.

U.S. officials have criticized the four-day trip. North Korea on Dec. 12 fired a satellite into space using a long-range rocket. Washington condemned the launch, which it considers a test of ballistic missile technology, as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions barring Pyongyang from developing its nuclear and missile programs. The Security Council is deliberating whether to take further action.

“We don’t think the timing of the visit is helpful, and they are well aware of our views,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters last week.

The trip was planned well before North Korea announced its plans to send a satellite into space, two people with knowledge of the delegation’s plans told the Associated Press. AP first reported the group’s plans last Thursday.

Schmidt, a staunch proponent of internet connectivity and openness, is expected to make a donation during the visit, while Richardson will try to discuss the detainment of a U.S. citizen jailed in Pyongyang, members of the delegation told AP. They asked not to be named, saying the trip was a private visit.

“We’re going to try to inquire the status, see if we can see him, possibly lay the groundwork for him coming home,” Richardson said of the U.S. citizen. “I heard from his son who lives in Washington state, who asked me to bring him back. I doubt we can do it on this trip.”

The visit comes just days after Kim, who took power following the Dec. 17, 2011, death of his father, Kim Jong Il, laid out a series of policy goals for North Korea in a lengthy New Year’s speech. He cited expanding science and technology as a means to improving the country’s economy as a key goal for 2013.

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