14 Jan 2013
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Google Internet Eric Schmidt North Korea

Google urges North Korea to go online

Google's Eric Schmidt has urged North Korea to go online, or risk economic decline as a consequence.

Finishing up a controversial trip to the country late last week, the search giant's chairman believed the isolated state would suffer in the future if it did not embrace the web soon.

After arriving back in Beijing, China, Schmidt told the waiting press the trip had been productive but the risks remain.

"We made that alternative very, very clear," Schmidt said.

"They have to make it possible for people to use the Internet, which the government in North Korea has not done. It's their choice now."

Described as a "private humanitarian mission", Schmidt was accompanied by ex-governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson as Google distanced themselves from the visit.

The company issued a statement last week saying it does not comment on "personal travel" by its executives, implying Schmidt did not necessarily have the backing of his employer.

Objections to the trip came from the U.S. State Department, who believed the trip to be ill-timed.

"Frankly we don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful, but they are private citizens and they are making their own decisions," a statement read.

"They are well aware of our views."

What do you think of Eric Schmidt's visit? Should North Korea embrace the internet or should they be left alone? Tell us your views below

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