After reading this AP article about Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt’s trip to North Korea it actually appears that they enjoy being propaganda pieces for the Kim regime:
Students at North Korea’s premier university showed Google’s executive chairman Tuesday how they look for information online: they Google it.
But surfing the Internet that way is the privilege of only a very few in North Korea, whose authoritarian government imposes strict limits on access to the World Wide Web.
Google’s Eric Schmidt got a first look at North Korea’s limited Internet usage when an American delegation he and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson are leading visited a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang. Other members of the delegation on the unusual four-day trip include Schmidt’s daughter, Sophie, and Jared Cohen, director of the Google Ideas think tank.
Schmidt, who is the highest-profile U.S. business executive to visit North Korea since leader Kim Jong Un took power a year ago, has not spoken publicly about the reasons behind the journey to North Korea.
Richardson has called the trip a “private, humanitarian” mission by U.S. citizens and has sought to allay worries in Washington.
North Korea is holding a U.S. citizen accused by Pyongyang of committing “hostile” acts against the state, charges that could carry 10 years in a prison or longer. Richardson told The Associated Press he would speak to North Korean officials about Kenneth Bae’s detention and seek to visit the American.
Schmidt and Cohen chatted with students working on HP desktop computers at an “e-library” at the university named after North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. One student showed Schmidt how he accesses reading materials from Cornell University online on a computer with a red tag denoting it as a gift from Kim Jong Il.
“He’s actually going to a Cornell site,” Schmidt told Richardson after peering at the URL.
Cohen asked a student how he searches for information online. The student clicked on Google — “That’s where I work!” Cohen said — and then asked to be able to type in his own search: “New York City.” Cohen clicked on a Wikipedia page for the city, pointing at a photo and telling the student, “That’s where I live.” [Associated Press]
You can read the rest at the link, but I hope they realize that their visit with these students was highly scripted by the regime and that their presence is being used as internal regime propaganda. It is likely that the North Korean domestic media is brandishing Kim Jong-un’s tech credentials especially after the successful rocket launch by showing how the CEO of the world’s leading Internet company is awed by the technology of the Kim regime.
Well hopefully they at least get the American hostage returned from North Korea because if they return empty handed after serving as such willing regime propaganda props than you have to wonder why they agreed to such a trip in the first place?