Tech delegation pressing Internet openness in North Korea
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - A private delegation including Google's Eric Schmidt is urging North Korea to allow more open Internet access and cellphones to benefit its citizens, the mission's leader said on Wednesday in the country with some of the world's tightest controls on information.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson also said his nine-member group called on North Korea to put a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests that have prompted UN sanctions, and the delegation asked for fair and humane treatment for an American citizen detained. He spoke in an exclusive interview in Pyongyang with The Associated Press.
The visit has been criticised for appearing to hijack US diplomacy and boost Pyongyang's profile after North Korea's latest, widely condemned rocket launch. Mr Richardson has said the delegation is on a private, humanitarian trip.
Mr Schmidt, the executive chairman of the US-based Internet giant Google, is the highest-profile American business executive to visit North Korea since leader Kim Jong Un took power a year ago.