Eric Schmidt Preaches Gospel Of “Openness” To North Koreans

While the motivations behind Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s recently completed trip to North Korea remain unclear, he clearly upstaged his host, former New Mexico Governor and UN Ambassador Bill Richardson.

Richardson was ostensibly there to help win or accelerate the release of a Korean-American, Kenneth Bae, being held in captivity. But Schmidt was the focus of much of the attention and coverage. Richardson said Schmidt was greeted like a “rock star” by the North Koreans.

And while it was billed as a “private humanitarian mission,” Richardson sounded like a US diplomat on an official trip. According to the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of a press conference held in Bejing, China earlier today:

Mr. Richardson said he told North Korea’s top vice minister for nuclear negotiations that Pyongyang should temper its nuclear-development efforts. “We need dialogue on the peninsula, not confrontation,” he told reporters. He also said he pushed Pyongyang for a moratorium on ballistic-missile tests, and that officials responded by insisting that the recent satellite launch was for peaceful reasons.

Eric Schmidt’s message to the North Koreans was apparently about the virtues and economic imperative of becoming a more open society, at least when it comes to the internet. He reportedly told North Korean officials that their economy would suffer further as a result of its “virtual isolation.” As quoted in the WSJ, Schmidt said the following:

As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world

The point is accurate and perhaps Schmidt’s presence and stature as an executive from one of the world’s leading companies will have an impact on the new leadership’s thinking. But the idea that greater access to the internet will directly translate into a more open society is far from clear.

China has been able to maintain a high degree of control over the internet (read: censorship) even as its economy has prospered and become the second-largest in the world.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Business Issues | Google: International

Sponsored


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



Marketing Day:

Get the top marketing stories daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Pat Grady

    Greg, you had me at your headline, masterful wordsmithing!

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!