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Google’s Eric Schmidt urges North Korea to drop internet barriers

Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has asked North Korea to open up more access to the world via the internet if the country hopes to develop its economy, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their view of the world,” he told reporters in Beijing Thursday, as he returned from a three-day trip to North Korea with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. He added that it would “make it harder for them to catch up economically. We made that alternative very, very clear.”

According to Associated Press, Richardson said that his delegation is pressing North Korea to put a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests and to allow more cellphones and an open internet for its citizens.

“The citizens of the DPRK (North Korea) will be better off with more cell phones and an active internet. Those are the … messages we’ve given to a variety of foreign policy officials, scientists” and government officials, Richardson said.

Most North Koreans have never logged onto the internet, and the country’s authoritarian government strictly limits access to the World Wide Web.

Schmidt called his trip “a private visit to North Korea to talk about the free and open internet”, a sentiment consistent with Google’s mission to open up access to the web.

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