Eric Schmidt‘s three-day visit to North Korea has ended. The trip, which elicited frowns from the U.S. State Department, was described by him as “a private visit to North Korea to talk about the free and open Internet,” and included a visit to an e-library, where some students are allowed to surf the web for educational purposes only.
Schmidt’s companions on the trip, which came just weeks after Pyongyang’s controversial rocket launch, included former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Understandably, the Google chairman, advocate of a free Internet, had put a technology jaw-jaw at the top of the agenda. “As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their view of the world,” he told reporters after flying into Beijing. Without an open web, the North Koreans can kiss economic growth goodbye, Schmidt said.