PYONGYANG, North Korea Students at North Korea’s premier university showed Google’s executive chairman Tuesday how they look for information online: They Google it.
But surfing the Internet that way is the privilege of only a very few in North Korea, whose authoritarian government imposes strict limits on access to the World Wide Web.
Google’s Eric Schmidt got a first look at North Korea’s limited Internet usage when an American delegation he and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson are leading visited a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang.
Other members of the delegation on the unusual four-day trip include Schmidt’s daughter, Sophie, and Jared Cohen, director of the Google Ideas think tank.
Schmidt, who is the highest-profile U.S. business executive to visit North Korea since leader Kim Jong Un took power a year ago, has not spoken publicly about the reasons behind the journey to North Korea.
Richardson has called the trip a “private, humanitarian” mission by U.S. citizens and has sought to allay worries in Washington.
North Korea is holding a U.S. citizen accused by Pyongyang of committing “hostile” acts against the state, charges that could carry 10 years in a prison or longer. Richardson said he would speak to North Korean officials about Kenneth Bae’s detention and seek to visit the American.