Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, traveled to North Korea earlier this year in an attempt to convince the country’s leaders to open Internet channels. He told MSNBC’s Louis Burgdorf in an Afternoon Mo’ Joe greenroom interview that North Koreans have access to cell phones but lack the data signals for communication because the government refuses to release the required access. The entire Western world not only connects to the Internet, but can also acquire fast service guaranteed by carriers.
The North Korean government’s level of control is “astounding” and “disturbing,” Schmidt said.
“Our goal was to get them to open it up just a little bit so at least people could have a little bit of a sense that maybe what the government is saying was not all the truth,” he said. “I don’t know if we had an impact, but it was a very strange place.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and say your impact was limited.
“Eric Schmidt was like a rock star there, talking to people, to students to scientists, to software engineers about the importance of the Internet,” Richardson told CNN. “I think it is important that we not isolate the North Koreans.”
The former U.S. official said the “private, humanitarian” mission had three goals: to urge the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to refrain from nuclear weapons testing; to check on an American detained there; and encourage greater openness to information.
It would be easier not to isolate the North Koreans if the North Koreans stopped doing things to isolate themselves.