Richardson, Schmidt return from North Korea without Bae
Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 01:12
Jan. 10 - Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt return to China after visiting North Korea without securing the release of American-Korean Kenneth Bae. Julie Noce reports.
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Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Google executive Eric Schmidt arrive in Beijing after their controversial trip to North Korea.
Richardson had said the purpose of the trip was to secure the release of American-Korean Kenneth Bae, who's being held for unspecified crimes by the North Korean government.
But they failed to secure his release, and didn't get a chance to meet with him.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON, SAYING:
"We expressed concern to the North Korean officials about the American detainee. We were informed that his health is good, that the judicial proceedings would start soon. That is encouraging. I was also given permission to proceed with a letter from his son, and that will happen shortly."
Instead, Richardson and Schmidt toured two computer centers.
The internet in North Korea is more of an intranet that blocks access to the outside world and can only be used by those loyal to the government.
Punishement for anti-regime comments could be up to five years in a hard labour camp.
Schmidt said the country needs to allow more access to the world wide web.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GOOGLE EXECUTIVE ERIC SCHMIDT, SAYING:
"... in my view, it's time for them to start, or they will remain behind. Thank you. "
Noth Korea has just over 1,000 IP addresses compared with the more than 1.5 billion in the U.S.
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