SEOUL — Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, a pioneer for free and open communication, is planning a trip to North Korea, an isolated police state that prohibits nearly all of its citizens from using the Internet.
The Associated Press, which reported the trip, said Schmidt will travel with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson on what was termed a private, humanitarian mission. They could leave as early as this month.
The trip, analysts said, is unlikely to spawn immediate change in North Korea, whose family-run leadership prohibits outside information as a way to maintain its power. Google, too, would likely balk at a partnership with Pyongyang: The search engine would face restrictions in North Korea far more severe than those in China, the country from which it pulled out in 2010 because of Internet censorship.
But Schmidt, who is responsible for Google’s government outreach, could push for North Korea to loosen restrictions in limited areas, such as in its education programs, analysts said.