Schmidt in North Korea: Google chairman’s step into the unknown

As diplomatic encounters go, it has to be among the most intriguing: the head of a revolutionary technology company that has helped secure the open flow of information around the world steps inside one of the globe’s most closed societies.

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, arrived in North Korea on Monday at the start of a private visit that has already provoked a public wrist-slapping from the US state department. Officials said the timing of the trip was “unhelpful”, coming less than a month after Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket in defiance of the international community.

The visit has also inevitably prompted speculation about Google’s intentions in engaging with a country that stands at the polar opposite of its core value of open information access. North Korea operates a form of intranet inside its territory, but it is available only to a tiny elite of favoured individuals and almost all residents have no access to the internet.

The speculation has been only heightened by Google’s reticence in discussing its chairman’s trip. All the search giant would say was that Schmidt was acting in a “personal” capacity.

Schmidt is being accompanied on the trip by Bill Richardson, the former Democratic governor of New Mexico who has visited North Korea several times before. Before departing, Richardson attempted to squash any loose talk about Google, while at the same time fanning the flames of speculation by referring to social media as one area of Schmidt’s interest.

“This is not a Google trip,” he said. “But I’m sure [Schmidt] is interested in some of the economic issues there, the social media aspect.”

Richardson himself is likely to be focusing on attempts to persuade the regime to release a US citizen currently detained in Pyongyang. Richardson said he had been in touch with the family of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who has been held captive for several months, and will ask after his status.

Professor Charles Armstrong, director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, said he was unconvinced by the idea that the trip was primarily a rescue mission. “This is odd: it doesn’t make sense for the chairman of Google to help rescue Americans from North Korea. Clearly, there has to be another agenda here that nobody is talking about.”

Armstrong said that North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, who took power a little over a year ago after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, had made tentative indications that he wanted to move in the direction of greater information technology. There has already been movement in the use of mobile phones, with more than a million cellular devices in circulation.

“It’s extraordinary that you can a country that is in some ways quite industrialised where there is essentially no public internet access,” Armstrong said. “Somehow, Eric Schmidt must have got the hint that this could become a potential market for Google.”

Other observers of foreign affairs and the politics of the internet were sceptical that the visit revealed anything at all about Google’s plans in Asia. PJ Crowley, the former state department spokesman who is now at George Washington University, said he doubted the new North Korean leader had any plans to open up internet access.

“If Pyongyang loses its control over information, the regime is doomed. The moment the average North Korean understands the gap between their lives and South Koreans’, the game is over.”

As for the state department’s admonishment of Schmidt and Richardson, Crowley said that was purely for public consumption. “The state department has to say that. US policy is not to reward bad behaviour, and there’s no question that North Korea is guilty of that.”


thanks to isabel for the link..

you need to understand how significant this is..what is schmidt doing over there?

“Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, arrived in North Korea on Monday at the start of a private visit that has already provoked a public wrist-slapping from the US state department. ”

bringing google to NK?

“This is odd: it doesn’t make sense for the chairman of Google to help rescue Americans from North Korea. Clearly, there has to be another agenda here that nobody is talking about.”

odd indeed..


~ by seeker401 on April 5, 2018.

18 Responses to “Schmidt in North Korea: Google chairman’s step into the unknown”

  1. Article is from 7.Jan.2013. However it is very significant and plays into my argument on KJU being a friend or asset of Western Intelligence.

    So, Schmidt visits around 7.Jan.

    Meanwhile in Jang’s life:

    “In January 2013, speculation arose that Jang had been quietly promoted to top decision-making Politburo Presidium member, as his official hierarchy position was elevated, displacing then-Chief of General Staff Hyon Yong-chol and his own wife Kim Kyong-hui”

    But then:

    “In late May 2013, Choe Ryong-hae, a vice-chairman of Central Military Commission and director of the KPA General Political Department, was sent as Kim Jong-un’s first special envoy to China, passing over Jang.[29] An analyst viewed this as a “striking” choice, and noted that “it appears that as the perceived ‘China man in Pyongyang'”, Jang’s “perceived close ties with China may have done a disservice to his standing in the eyes of Kim, exposed him to criticism of being too subservient to China, and made him vulnerable to any anti-China backlash in Pyongyang”.[29]

    Thought to have been particularly unacceptable to Kim Jong-un were Jang’s “continued expression of sympathy towards” *****Kim Jong-nam*****—Kim Jong-un’s half-brother and Kim Jong-il’s eldest son—who was living in exile under Chinese protection at the time.[29]”

    …and the fall

    “Soon after, in November 2013, Jang’s senior aides Lee Yong-ha and Jang Soo-kee were executed.[34][35] Lee was reportedly accused of abusing his authority, while Jang Soo-kee was found guilty of trying to organize a new faction and rejecting the system.[36][37]

    Jang had not been seen in public since. On 3 December he was dismissed from his post.[38] On 7 December, his appearances were obscured or edited out from a news report (originally aired in October) that re-aired on Korean Central Television.[39]

    On 8 December, Jang Song-thaek was publicly expelled from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), with state media attributing this to a decision of the Politburo. Jang was accused of having committed “anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts” that included illicit affairs with women; harboring “politically-motivated ambition”; weakening “the party’s guidance over judicial, prosecution and people’s security bodies” and obstructing “the nation’s economic affairs””

    “On 12 December 2013, Jang was tried by a special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security and executed, according to state media”

    So Schmidt visits and within a year there is a complete purge of KJI holdovers? Really? Then the explicit mention of KJN who had been in “exile” since 2001 and posed no threat? No coincidences in Jongistan, KJU is owned. Schmidt either relayed the orders (or an offer?) and probably negotiated matters for their criminal syndicate. Use NK for covert human trafficking perhaps? He’s supposedly a pedo.

    This whole purge could be as simple as the legacy KJI criminal syndicate may never have done business with the West. So acting boss Jang had to go, and then later, the erstwhile Fredo, KJN, who I argue was running a leg of the family business in Macau. Sets the stage for the scripted “detente” and, I argue, KJU’s planned leading of the nation out of isolation.

    Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action
    -Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

    • Cui Bono? Question.
      Is the West’s criminal enterprise getting their control, and the West gains insight on NK being used from one perspective as a national social engineering experiment?

      • That had not occurred to me, but as I see it DPRK is simply an oppressive Stalinist state which happens to be also used as an international criminal enterprise. I’m not sure what the social experiment would be.

        • I was wondering if the social experiment side would be any data collecting on the society. There are probably measures the government uses to understand the state of affairs of its’ society. For example, spying and keeping an eye on usual matters. NK’s government may need to keep tabs on its society much closer in order to keep a tight control. Usually a collection of data must take place in order to regulate the society more effectively (oppressively). Anything like that maybe? When the West comes in they might gain access to such regulative control measures and adopt the more subtle propaganda, or any other NK techniques.

          I have benefited from your insight, thanks for posting your comments. They have been interesting.

          • I just had a thought. Assuming I am off on my analysis, perhaps Schmidt was there to study how the triumvirate of the Kim dynasty, NK Military, and WPK are able to successfully govern the population given the state of the DPRK. There are computers in the country and there is cell service in Pyongyang (Orascom) with about 60% of its older citizens having a phone, but the overall country is largely backwater from a technology standpoint. So maybe there is a social experiment going on, using DPRK as a petri dish in developing a successful totalitarian model for (((them))).


            • very possible but i think schmidt isnt a ground breaker but more of a master manipulator and helper to (((them)))..

              perhaps hes going bring about the positive google inspired and censored revolution news and propaganda control’s needed for rocket man to oust the hard heads?

              • Given Jang & Co’s ousting by the end of 2013, this is a very astute observation. However DPRK is unique in that, the overall population does not need to be manipulated in order to effect change. Media is so tightly controlled and outside information channels blocked, most of the country is literally in 1984, with Big Brother being the now dead Kim il-Sung and Kim Jong-il.

                I am now thinking the Schmidt visit and the “color” revolution later in the year are somehow linked, regardless of his or Google’s role was in the matter. Previously I would have argued the rocket situation was KJU appeasing hard liners in his government, but it was the missile situation which attracted the ire of the President and led us to where we are now. Interestingly since KJU’s official reign began in December 2011, there have been only ten missile tests, seven of which were successful. However in 2017 alone there were sixteen starting on Feb 11. Quite a coincidence…


    • schmidt is up to something..great post mate..many thanks..

  2. Have you heard of gamification? The Chinese push to control is citizens via an electronic means, primarily social network status?

    If not, you should.

    Something like this would open up technology to NK, but in the same time monitor and police their citizens on a whole new level. A true Orwellian society crafted by tech giants, tested in relative isolation…

    See the connection?

  3. we know is over LUCIFERIANS try it & lose

  4. great info-, Cui Bono & zamason, thanks!


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