December 05, 2023

Google Goes To North Korea: Why Not?

Is North Korea's growing interest in information technology what really spurred Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to visit North Korea?

With Eric Schimdt’s visit to Pyongyang making headlines across the world, many writers have been wondering why Google’s executive chairman would ever want to visit the DPRK. But I believe there are other valid questions to be asked. Why shouldn't he go? And what could this trip mean for North Koreans?  Also, shouldn't we use this occasion to ask ourselves where the DPRK actually stands in terms of information and communication technology (ICT), and think about what Schmidt might expect to see during his stay?

So far there have been few clues as to what is really behind Schmidt's trip. But from photos of his arrival, it is now evident that his entourage was joined from China by James Kim, the founder and president of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).  Because of this, a visit to this unique international campus in the heart of Pyongyang is likely to be on high on the delegation's tour program, just as well as visits to Kim Il Sung University (this happened today) and the e-Library of Kim Chaek University of Science and Technology.