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Google Exec Arrives In North Korea

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Google Executive Chairman Eric Schimidt (C) makes his way after checking in at Beijing International airport in Beijing on January 7, 2013, before his trip to North Korea. Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Google chairman Eric Schmidt will head to North Korea on a 'private humanitarian mission,' Richardson's office said on January 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schimidt (C) makes his way after checking in at Beijing International airport in Beijing on January 7, 2013, before his trip to North Korea. Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Google chairman Eric Schmidt will head to North Korea on a ‘private humanitarian mission,’ Richardson’s office said on January 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

PYONGYANG, North Korea (CBS/AP) — Google’s executive chairman is starting a visit to North Korea that has prompted controversy and fascination.

Eric Schmidt of Google arrived Monday in a country considered to have the world’s most restrictive Internet policies. He is part of a delegation that includes former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

It is the first trip by an executive from the Mountain View-based Internet search provider to North Korea.

Also on the trip is Jared Cohen, director of the Google Ideas think tank. Cohen is a former State Department policy adviser.

Washington has criticized the trip as not “helpful.” North Korea has drawn criticism for launching a long-range rocket last month.

Richardson calls the trip a “private humanitarian mission” but it’s not clear what the group hopes to accomplish during the visit.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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