On January 2, we reported that Google's Eric Schmidt might be heading to North Korea per a report out of the Associated Press. Few details were available, and the information came from sources who were familiar with the issue. Now we have confirmation via the former New Mexico governor, who just issued a message confirming the rumor.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will be joining Google's Eric Schmidt on a private trip to North Korea next week, collaborating what the sources said earlier this week. The trip will be for humanitarian purposes, and will be the latest of several that Richardson has made to the country over the years.
The former governor will be holding a press conference at the Beijing airport on Thursday, January 10. The delegation will include Google Ideas' Director Jared Cohen and Schmidt's co-author for a book in the works. Cohen has been involved with North Korea-related humanitarian activities in the past, as well, having organized a conference in LA where North Korean defectors spoke about various matters.
Also going on the trip will be K.A. Namkung, Richardson's adviser and Asia specialist, plus other individuals who will serve as staff. Despite its humanitarian purpose, the US State Department is less than enthused, stating that the timing of the visit is less than ideal. The nation recently launched a rocket, and tensions are high. The group isn't being deterred, however, and it is expected that they will seek the release of tour guide Kenneth Bae.