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Google chairman arrives in North Korea

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt wanted a firsthand look at North Korea's economy and social media landscape during his private visit Monday to the communist nation, his delegation said, despite misgivings in Washington over the timing of the trip.
By JEAN H. LEE Published: January 8, 2013

U.S. officials have criticized the four-day trip. North Korea on Dec. 12 fired a satellite into space using a long-range rocket. Washington condemned the launch as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions barring Pyongyang from developing its nuclear and missile programs.

The trip was planned before North Korea announced plans to send a satellite into space, two people knowledgeable of the delegation's plans told The Associated Press.

Schmidt, a proponent of Internet connectivity and openness, is expected to make a donation during the visit, while Richardson will try to discuss the detainment of a U.S. citizen jailed in Pyongyang, members of the delegation told AP. They asked not to be named.

The visit comes just days after Kim, who took power following the Dec. 17, 2011, death of his father, Kim Jong Il, laid out policy goals for North Korea. He cited expanding science and technology, to improve the country's economy, as a key goal.