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Here is an edited version of my comments when Governor Richardson's delegation returned from Pyongyang:

I wanted to thank Governor Richardson for inviting my crew along on this trip. This was a private visit to North Korea to talk about the free and open Internet. The North Koreans showed up, listened to us and asked us a lot of questions.

Overall, the technology in North Korea is very limited right now.

There is a 3G network that is a joint venture with an Egyptian company called Orascom. It is a 2100 Megahertz SMS-based technology network, that does not, for example, allow users to have a data connection and use smart phones. It would be very easy for them to turn the Internet on for this 3G network. Estimates are that are about a million and a half phones in the DPRK with some growth planned in the near future.

There is a supervised Internet and a Korean Intranet. (It appeared supervised in that people were not able to use the internet without someone else watching them). There’s a private intranet that is linked with their universities. Again, it would be easy to connect these networks to the global Internet.

They also demonstrated their software and technology based on open source (mostly Linux) and it was obvious to us that access to the Internet and all of this was possible for the government, the military, and universities, but not for the general public.

As the world becomes increasingly connected, the North Korean decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world and their economic growth. It will make it harder for them to catch up economically.

We made that alternative very, very clear. Once the internet starts in any country, citizens in that country can certainly build on top of it, but the government has to do one thing: open up the Internet first. They have to make it possible for people to use the Internet, which the government of North Korea has not yet done. It is their choice now, and in my view, it’s time for them to start, or they will remain behind.

Thank you.
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When these isolated countries slowly open up and start building a more modern society both culturally and economically, they would have a great opportunity to do it sustainably from ground up. This could even provide them some competitive advantage. Developed economies have difficulties retrofitting green thinking where many powerful players seem to have conflicts of interest with a greener future.
Rat Xue
A more dangerous thing for this dictatorship is the idea that tcp/ip is a trojan horse.
Everything has its start. Maybe they want to open up, start the internet for mass population, thats why they invited you all. And to +Kempton Lam yes, VimpelCom now owns Orascom and they already started taking control from old management project by project basis.
Thanks for sharing +Eric Schmidt -- it is impossible to gauge what effects if any your delegation will have on the easing of the extreme regulation of the internet in North Korea in the immediate aftermath; still, I am of the mind that it is better to have tried than not.
When the citizens are aware, and sure that this decision is holding the country back, rulers will get under pressure to do it. I'd expect some decision soon.
+Eric Schmidt the fact that you can write this words here public is a very good proof that freedom of communication helps to make the world more peacefully...
If humans talk together they have the chance to solve problems and different opinions.
North Korea is a extreme example of the outdated past. It is only "a switch" to turn on the internet from the technical perspective. There is no fast switch to change the opinion of the totalitarian government, one of the weapons to change their mind is "the time"...
On the long run we are all connected all over the world. In the future "free" communication will be  possible global in all countries. The best and a fast weapon to fight outdated regimes is information and education of the people over Internet. From that point it is remarkable that a totalitarian regime talks to an information broker(Google)....
Thanks to the Google team:)
Thanks for sharing, +Eric Schmidt!  Just got done reading Sophie's excellent trip notes.  I think this adventure is one of the most amazing of the many I've vicariously enjoyed with you.  ;-)
Thank you for visiting and bringing us back this view. Dialogue moves things move forward. Refusing to speak to someone does not resolve issues. 
+Pirduan Sunny the people in countries with totalitarian regimes are mostly not aware that it is possible to talk to leaders... Open and free communication over the borders of a country is the first step to freedom of speech...
Leaders and administration normally do not communicate in a free and independent way, it is a bad communication and normally unilateral only in one direction... But you +Pirduan Sunny are right that leaders and administration should open up to their people. It must not be the first step but it is necessary over the time...
@Frank and there I thought you might be alluding to some aspects of US Government where the politicans do listen to some people, but not the voices of the rest of us. thirdraildemocracy
+Patrick Dacre that is a completely other topic... In North Korea there is no communication. What you have in US Government is the same like in the most other democratic Governments around the world... But in western democratic countries their is far more open information as in countries like North Korea... 
Let us stay topic, we talking about North Korea and similar countries...
How terrifying is the idea of "supervised Internet."
Thanks Eric, very cool to read this here.
Interestingly, that building seemingly is reminiscent that NK is like a modern day Egypt. NK is a tough egg to crack. 
I believe that the State Department was right being against this visit.
Dear Leader says: Internet is an Imperialistic, Capitalist trick to enslave the working class. Long live the revolution and long live dear leader!
To them your visit was nothing more than a propaganda coup. If you think pointing out the error of their ways will make them suddenly embrace democratic freedom then you're deluding yourself. The horrors they've subjected the population to cannot be forgiven or forgotten.
There's a first step in everything. Let's hope that the North Korean government will take this first step and start doing something for their people.
I actually have a big hope for Kim Jong-un, he spent some time in Switzerland (I wouldn't call it study), and he speaks English. Living in developing country is much better than underdeveloped one. Naturally North Koreans are not idiots, they managed to build up nuke, and missile, which were able to go to space, understandably with help from outside. But, if nation would start integrating with the rest of the world, we may actually face new great developing area, more like China.
wow,you can visit youtube in korea is really cool,because we need to use special software to access in china.
I came here to say that #1, I have been to there and that #2, I tried getting a copy of Red Star Linux when I was there, but returned empty handed. Anyone have the .iso? Message me pls.
They finally finished that hotel.
Interesting to read your thoughts, Eric. Whilst I agree with your points entirely - there is an undeniable social and economic benefit to the internet - I am sceptical that North Korea will change. I appreciate that  you may not be able to share your thoughts publicly  but it would be fascinating to read your conclusions from this trip.
Did you go to the theme park and play the fighter pilot Sega game?
North Korea does not absolute Internet open. When you open Internet system collapse. Lol.. :)
Thanks for sharing this, +Eric Schmidt. A lot has been written about this visit, and maybe this will end up in the history books.
+Eric Schmidt Thanks for this interesting report by somebody who definitely has been there. So it will run like in China - open the internet (0inviting modern times) or remain stuck in the past.
If there was indeed true unfiltered internet, the peoples free thiking learning curve would be swift. The problem would be getting the internet to the people. How would most gain access?
They need to open up not only the internet but the whole country as well to the outside world... Hope that day is NOT far away. +Eric Schmidt 
I wish I could of observed this communicative interaction- Eric Schmidt speaking to a North Korean Intelligence official, OMG- what a focking hilarious sight---- Saturday Night Live skit!
+Georgi Kaua Agree ... and whenever they open the internet, there is no way to stop or return the way forward. Hopefully soon!
But you can't keep people in the dark they wont give internet access so I don't think it will happen they are just to fearful of information. 
There are quite a number of North Koreans already who access the internet via cell phones on the northern border where Chinese cell phone towers are in range. That is why visitors to DPRK are generally forbidden from bringing cell phones into the country. They are small enough to easily be given to a citizen who could easily conceal it. I've been there, all contingencies in this regard are accounted for.
yes I like the South Korean people who support their Governorats and love their country however they isolated from the world but south korea didn't loose I gues the world is the one who lost south Korea
Freedom of communications is a human right whether it is via phones, Internet, etc.. More generally, I believe that we as communities have the best possible laws and regulations but no, if any, organized methods to apply them.
I'm a China democracy protomer whose team dedicated to topple china communist regime with your help.

As you know, china communist regime stoke nationalist passion, divert domestic resentment,dispute with neighbors. For peace of the world,  to be a democratic nation from dictatorship like china communist regime needs your help that fund us to organize Chinese people ,stage nationwide protests against regime. 3 million US dollar initiative fund is needed that purchase equipment for tens of millions protesters who will confront communist regime disperse mass strategy. eventually, communist regime collapse, society open in china.

Time is historical moment to take action now, as for china economy is going to hard-land; unemployment soar; younger generation outraged by rampage corruption of communist cadre. Fund us to make democracy happen in china.

My envision to communist regime as following:

Internationally, the fundamental foreign policies of china communist regime to U.S.A is that do its best to curb USA or any USA-related policies & US-led UN resolution who brought the communist system down in former Soviet Union, secure the pacific rim that include the Taiwan island, ally with japan;south korea;Philippine;vietnam & even myanmar, also threat communist regime and condemn its human rights as well, communist regime smiled and support any individual or state who confronted with USA, such as DPRK;Syria;Iran. 

Domestically, enlarge the negative of U.S., brag communist ideology, which orchestrate with state-controlled media and law. 

For the sake of reserve US dollar, communist regime spur the factories export the goods to oversea market with subsidy policy, co-operate with cheap labor force, you imagine what the products price are, surely, that’s competitive enough in the industrialized west Europe and North America market, it works, the coastline city of southeastern china been the industry plant of the world, it appears to be that tax chinese workers heavily and benefit abroad trader and Chinese government, who they are often collaborate, stir global market up. 

Jail threat the civilians who dare to disobey; decry; against or challenge the rule that made by grassroots or elite communist, even though the rules are absurd; communist leaders are stupid. 
employer or employee is not a matter for essence of social problem, but human dignity are, that based on the paycheck and the law that must undergo the fierce test by lawyer; media & public, but not by the will of rich one or authority. China communist regime must gone.

My profile link
Google+ 吴大海
What if their apparent backwardness in the area of web tech is simply a ruse and they are actually quite advanced ?
I think feeding the country is slightly more important than giving them internet access. And then there's the problem of electricity being unreliable. NK's government needs to be removed. They grow drugs instead of the food their people need. The internet will follow when totalitarian government is removed.
Lets hope we can continue to keep existing countries free and open. That seems to be the biggest issue these days. +Eric Schmidt Your a brave to make the trip, many would not.
First of all, we make them open the internet to the people. Then people will know the truth whether goverment prohibit this or not. And they will make change their life and government by themselves.
freedom of speech is what one requires most importantly..
Do you really imagine that in a country that still forces its citizens to attend weekly meeting where one must report on ones neighbor that they are simply going to give everyone web acess? To begin with, many North Koreans are already living in some of the biggest labour camps in the world and it would seem as if only the discovery of oil would prompt intervention from the so-called international community. DPRK citizens are physically and intellectually malnourished. In many ways their society is the same as most in the world with those at the bottom being kept weak so that the rulers can rein (and exalt themselves for being 'self made'). This is how people everywhere in the world are governed. Only in DPRK it is much more obvious. The internet could have united working people globally to resist exploitation and yet class-consciousness is at an all time low. The internet does not automatically liberate the mind of its users, in fact, as the web presence of corporations becomes more and more infused, it could even become as counter-progressive as TV.
Rob Rey
Where is this building at?
Like to congratulate Eric on his visit. I think it's important to have dialogue. Isolating and demonising a country such as North Korea doesn't help bringing about the change needed for the benefit of its people.
the citizens of DPR of North Korea have been brain washed ! God speed with the modernization.  They surely need them !
Your playing with fire. I hope you have a exeplanation ready when asked for it, or discreet approval from State.
y'e  N korea ,so my S VN . i'm hate new vc .
Jay Lee
They always had been behind and it will be remain that way for some time as their first priority is keeping the regime by making their own people blind.  They don’t seem to care about isolation or poverty but the keeping the regime.
"It's time for them to start" totally agree
They should also maybe drop some smartphones to the natives in the Brazilian bush so they can get heads up notifications that big tree cutters are on the move;)
Hellow there!!!!!!!!! good ppl
Well logically they should open up markets to the masses in NK. The future economic system of the planet is heading in that direction. cause eventually their trade will drop so drastically it'll be crazy! ( any guesstimations how long that will take?)
But also, opening up information to the masses, will cause unprecedented riot in a country so brainwashed. ( especially because of forums like this. Ironically)
Their response, whatever it is, will be interesting to see.
They say history repeats itself. So this may end up being a story future generations will learn from. And Hopefully not repeat it.
( well even that depends on what happens next, doesn't it! :) 
Leo Lee
I am not that optimistic about North Korean Government, but I like your try. Change the world, if cannot, change your view.
the pyramid of the NWO !!!
The NK government holds their people hostage, extorting ransom payments from the rest of the world. If attention lags, if they drop out of the news for too long, they blow up a bomb, launch a missile, torpedo a ship, starve some people, or bring in some visitors. They will remain on that cutoff line, where it's cheaper to pay them off than to fix them. They are long time experts at that. Giving their people open Internet access would end it all for the elite, so you can be sure it won't happen.
it's like the lag of technology in East Germany back some 20 years.
... diplomacy back channel. Like building a suspension bridge, the first cable is all about careful placement of the start and destination. Experiments are sometimes best done outside the glare of the lights. Thank you, Eric.
I'm wondering if there is going to be any sort of manufacturing smart phone, tablet or critically important component parts (using or involving rare earth metals) via a North Korean technology park near the border with the south, Kaesong Industrial Region?  And if these are parts that will end up in electronics for export from the south which may end up in the west?

Production at the Kaesong Industrial Complex grew 17.5 percent last year from a year earlier as South Korean firms employed more North Korean workers, which raised output, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Thursday.

The total output by the 123 South Korean firms operating in the inter-Korean economic project zone is estimated to have reached US$470 million during the one year period, according to data released by the ministry handling inter-Korean affairs.

The total number of North Korean workers employed at the industrial park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, rose to 53,507 as of the end of 2012, up from 49,866 a year earlier, according to the data.

Nearly 37 percent of the 119 firms surveyed by the ministry said they feel the North’s interference with their corporate activities is severe, the ministry said. Inability in hiring or firing North Korean workers is the most frequently cited complaint among the 119 firms polled, followed by difficulties in Internet connection and a shortage of North Korean labor.

The South Korean resources development industry estimates that North Korea has 42 types of minerals, including rare earth metals at nearly 700 mines under development. Their value is estimated at nearly 6,984 trillion won (6,133 billion U.S. dollars). In particular, the industry says that while China has made rare earth metals a strategic resource, the North has up to 20 million tons of rare earth deposits. China’s rare deposits are estimated at 55 million tons, accounting for about half of the world’s total.

Only 0.2% of the rare earth element content is europium. The second large source for rare earth elements between 1965 and its closure in the late 1990s was the Mountain Pass rare earth mine.

Neodymium is typically 10% to 18% of the rare earth content of commercial deposits of the light rare earth element minerals bastnasite and monazite. The bulk of current production is from China, whose government has recently imposed strategic materials controls on the element, raising some concerns in consuming countries and causing skyrocketing prices of neodymium and other rare-earth metals. As of late 2011, 99 percent pure neodymium was traded in world markets for USD $300 to $350 per kilogram, down from the mid-2011 peak of $500/kg.

Rare earth metals are used in the construction of everything from iPods to precision guided missiles.

China is currently the biggest player in the North Korean mineral market, and the costs it pays for these resources reflect this lack of competition. Most of this investment comes from small and medium sized enterprises in China’s Northeast that are looking to maximize their economic position by investing in North Korea. This investment would be almost impossible without the special relationship between China and North Korea, and the role of Korean speaking Chinese middle-men that have connections on both sides of the Yalu River, and who can make the arrangements necessary for these business deals.

It is important to note that China pays far less for mineral imports from North Korea than it does, on average, from other states. Exports from China to North Korea, likewise, are priced much higher thanChinese exports elsewhere. These costs reflect the true cost of doing business in North Korea given the necessary investments into mine rehabilitation and transportation infrastructure, as well as the risk that comes with dealing with North Korea. In short, this is a surprisingly market-oriented trade between two ostensibly communist states.
i like your picture!, i like the degree of how you took the image the setting of the picture is good. it`s a very good picture thank you for sharing your view of your art an imagery. very very nice. 
You should leave a review of that hotel on google places and write about the quality of the wifi. Maybe then they'll improve it.
Why the sudden interest of google with north korea...I wish google put some focus on my country Iraq. An open wealthy fresh market that is open for bussiness 
Iraq doesn't have rare earth minerals.  North Korea also has a lot of Monazite & Thorium. 
I think Google ist interested in both countries, just like in all countries. And they just pic the situation as it comes along --- I'm sure they have made up plans for all
+Jonathan Langdale I thought google was a tech company not a mining company, and when it comes to resources. Iraq is one of the richest countries...its just we are ruled by bunch of idiots...
+Ferid Muayyad I think, where are mining companies, there is a wide range of business. And Google is providing business solutions as well .
+Monika Schmidt nothing so far from google toward Iraq...its like we dont exist on the talking for small things like buying an app using my credit card from play store.which is not available. Iraq isnt listed among countries
+Ferid Muayyad But in the beginning and on top of their goals, they want to provide free access to all kinds of knowledge for  all people  THATS'S IT !
+Ferid Muayyad You need rare earth minerals to make smart phones and tablets (among other defense related products), specifically the screens.  North Korea has about $6 trillion in untapped natural resources that they can't extract for various reasons.  They currently export a lot of their sand to China. 
+Ferid Muayyad Let's not overlook the fact that Eric went with a former Clinton DoE US Energy Sec, Bill Richardson.   Both went as part of a "private" deal that the US State Dept "supposedly" didn't approve of.

Possibly related to the island dispute with Japan which is currently heating up as a "potential war." 

I'm just guessing that the main crux of the meetings were not about open internet in North Korea.  The majority of North Korean workers (except for the more urban areas), who make a fraction of what Chinese workers make, probably don't have very many computers or cell phones to get on the internet with. 

And of those that do, cell phones are a problem for North Korean government censorship.  So, if you like conspiracies, you could argue that there is a motivation to have more closed internet access in North Korea.
Thanks +Jonathan Langdale and +Monika Schmidt
Although the whole idea is like mission impossible, mining rare minerals at north korea but I really wish google succeed with that, where politics failed.
._. the pics look cold, clean, and strangely charming
I'm surprised they have a cell network with that many phones. I guess they could use dialup for data. 
I get the impression the son is from a more connected generation and if the generals where not around we would see change happen much quicker. For now he will continue military tests of rockets and nukes to hold them off.

Remember he was raised in other countries and knows the world in a different way.
I used to live in a country without any Internet service or mobile phones.  There were lots of newspapers and magazines, a few tv stations, public telephones, libraries and shops full of books and a very active social network where friends and family shared the news of the day as well as their own opinions on just about every topic imaginable.  That country was America.
I wonder if they have smartphones in the remaining North Korean concentration camp mines, or perhaps it's only available to the south?  I bet the reception is bad that far north, especially in a mine.

But just think how easy it would be to locate the prisoner-workers if they all had GPS-enabled smartphones? There's only so much you can do with SMS-enabled phones. 

Related article:
+Eric Schmidt , are you able to elaborate on what areas of your response were 'edited'? I am also curious about why editing was necessary.
Really enjoyed the article by Sophie Schmidt. Excellent photography. 
I cannot help chuckling at this post. I was born east of the Iron Curtain and therefore Eric's naive position is somewhat amusing to me. In essence, his view is that "full participation in the Internet is good for a nation, and since its leaders care for the good of the nation, they should permit it". Can anyone spot a flaw in the implicit assumptions he makes? The DPRK leadership has one purpose only: its own survival. If the NoKo people threaten that goal, they should be killed - and thousands of them are, every year. The supreme goal is worth sacrificing not just the welfare, but the lives of the whole nation. In years past, millions of NoKo people have died of starvation; this, however did not spur the government to embark in the market reforms that would have helped lift the economy. It goes without saying that "full participation in the Internet is good for a nation"; the obvious point that Eric misses is that "full participation in the Internet" brings freedom of information and freedom of speech, which leads to a democratic revolution within a few years. Therefore, "full participation in the Internet" is the mortal enemy of the DPRK regime and is exactly what they will never allow. I was going to suggest to Eric that he google "Hosni Mubarak Facebook revolution" - but this is too easy. Obviously Eric Schmidt and Bill Richardson are intelligent and knowledgeable people whom I respect, and they know these things. So I just have to say that I do not understand what purpose is served by them making such ridiculously out of touch statements, on par with "Let them eat cake!".
Thanks for you efforts, Eric. I consider just about any contact with North Korea to be good contact. You have planted a seed that might take a while to grow.
Việt nam cũng muốn quay lại chỗ này ! họ rất muốn điều đó ! thật kinh tởm !
I'm pretty sure they know the real reason why the US want access there.
The free flow of information is empowering. Knowledge derives from information. Knowledge leads to choice. Choice leads to freedom.
The sooner the people of N.Korea embrace the WWW the better.
Why should North Korea fully open their network? China's partially open network has allowed for some innovation with a lot of political control.  Why should their totalitarian regime not go that route?
toi hoc tieng anh rat kem nen doc cha hieu gi
+kiểm nguyễn ...  Dưới đây là một phiên bản biên tập lại ý kiến ​​của tôi khi đoàn đại biểu của Thống đốc Richardson trở về từ Bình Nhưỡng:
Tôi muốn cảm ơn Thống đốc Richardson đã mời nhóm của tôi cùng trong chuyến đi này. Đây là một chuyến thăm riêng tới Bắc Triều Tiên để nói về Internet mở và miễn phí. Bắc Triều Tiên cho thấy, nghe chúng tôi và yêu cầu chúng tôi rất nhiều câu hỏi.
Nhìn chung, công nghệ ở Bắc Triều Tiên là rất hạn chế ngay bây giờ.
Có một mạng lưới 3G mà là một liên doanh với một công ty Ai Cập gọi là Orascom. Đó là 2100 Megahertz SMS-công nghệ mạng, không, ví dụ, cho phép người sử dụng để có một kết nối dữ liệu và sử dụng điện thoại thông minh. Nó sẽ rất dễ dàng cho họ để biến Internet trên mạng 3G này. Ước tính có khoảng một triệu và một điện thoại một nửa ở Cộng hòa Dân chủ Nhân dân Triều Tiên với một số tăng trưởng dự kiến ​​trong tương lai gần.
Có giám sát là một Internet và mạng nội bộ một người Hàn Quốc. (Nó xuất hiện giám sát trong đó người dân không thể sử dụng internet mà không cần người khác xem họ). Có một mạng nội bộ tư nhân được liên kết với các trường đại học của họ. Một lần nữa, nó sẽ được dễ dàng để kết nối các mạng Internet toàn cầu.
Họ cũng đã chứng minh phần mềm và công nghệ của họ dựa trên mã nguồn mở (chủ yếu là Linux) và nó đã được rõ ràng để chúng tôi truy cập vào Internet và tất cả những điều này có thể cho chính phủ, quân đội, và các trường đại học, nhưng không phải cho công chúng nói chung.
Khi thế giới ngày càng trở nên kết nối, quyết định của Bắc Triều Tiên được hầu như bị cô lập là rất nhiều sẽ ảnh hưởng đến thế giới vật chất và tăng trưởng kinh tế của họ. Nó sẽ làm cho nó khó khăn hơn cho họ để bắt kịp kinh tế.
Chúng tôi đã lựa chọn rất, rất rõ ràng. Một khi internet bắt đầu ở bất kỳ quốc gia nào, công dân trong quốc gia đó chắc chắn có thể xây dựng trên đầu trang của nó, nhưng chính phủ đã làm một điều: mở Internet đầu tiên. Họ phải làm cho nó có thể cho người sử dụng Internet, mà chính phủ Bắc Triều Tiên đã không làm được. Đó là sự lựa chọn của họ bây giờ, và theo quan điểm của tôi, đó là thời gian để họ bắt đầu, hoặc họ sẽ ở lại.
+Kempton Lam it does not matter, who holds the shares of Orascom. As long as the company is incorporated in Egypt (it also holds HQ there and is listed on EGX), it is Egyptian. Your comment is irrelevant. 
+John Kramer I'd rather say China has "partially blocked" Internet access. FB, bunch of Google services are blocked, but most of the web is accessible. Also with the use of VPN or proxies it is easy access the blocked services too. There is no comparison between what is going on in North Korea and China. 
people were not able to use the internet without someone else watching them
Jim Law
It's great you got this opportunity, here's hoping some good can come of it for the people of N.K.
Very informative. Sounds like Matrix (or Simulated Reality), only that you need a visa not a ticket to see it. Wow!
China is certainly more open than the NPRK yet I don't believe any one realistically harbors any illusion that it is an open and democratic society.  Totalitarianism is thinly veiled beneath the surface, as is the command economy which rides by the seat of its pants next to the breakneck capitalism that is permitted in order to goose the command economy.  As everyone knows even though Internet access is available it's all very carefully monitored and controlled.  It's 100% certain NPRK would do virtually the same thing and perhaps clamp down even more tightly than China.  In short, "open" Internet access is possible in NPRK but the good thing is, as with China, the less brainwashed citizenry will learn to subvert and circumvent the holes in the "great firewall" (or will they call it the "dear firewall"?) to get real access to the Internet.  

Anyway, nicely done.  This will hopefully be a good first step for that deeply isolated and deluded country that seems hopelessly stuck in the Fifties.
Eric, I have a feeling you were being used as a photo op to feed the NK propaganda machine. I seriously doubt your visit was of any benefit to the people.
As I know they still have problems even with food. If north korean people got access to Internet and will see how really other world lives, government will fall very soon. So north korean leaders will not allow it.
Looks like the Ryugyong hotel has been worked on pretty had since I was there (2001).

There's a little irony in totalitarian regimes using Open Source software.

+Eric Schmidt did you visit the Mansudae TV station? (If that still runs, actually). We used to work there, "opening up" western TV channels for the Party. I guess the open internet will be Party only for now. The regular folks need to be suppressed and stay ignorant of what goes on outside the country, they might rebel otherwise (although not likely since they are indoctrinated since birth).

Thanks for the post.
I am surprised why N Korea have not yet started a social and economical transformation like China did. They are good friends with China and they could have learned how they did it gradually.
I suspect that N Korea is really governed by the military, which are very suspicious, they have the feeling for enemies all over around them and do not want to change anything, a status quo that may suits them very well.  
I recall, the international business climate back in the late 60s and early 70s, when the Cold War was still a monolithic, worldwide iceberg. At that time I was the director of marketing for a Chicago-based manufacturer of store-brand labeled camping equipment for the biggest sellers of the day (Sears, Wards, K-Mart, Wilson, etc) as well as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

We saw the early signs of globalization as Japanese and Korean competitors began to show up in the buyer's waiting rooms. We saw SKUs move off our list to theirs. My response was to get into that game by becoming the exclusive US distributor of a line of higher quality made behind the Ion Curtain, in Hungary.  

Instead of selling cheap items from Asia that were lower than our US cost, I chose to sell higher quality products at prices higher than our own US-made. Our customers ate it up and we started booking seasonal orders.

At the start, we had problems with the supplier. They did not respect agreements. It took a few few rocky seasons before they started to keep promises and be open in communication. The most helpful was having a small delegation of their key people come to Chicago and see the reality of our lives. 

They marveled at shopping malls. They were stunned at 50,000 square foot stores that were run with a handful of clerks at he cashier station and no sales people on the floor. They were amazed at the casualness of our dealings with each other and with authority figures.

On the way to their flight back home, they pleaded to stop so they could load up on boxes of ballpoint pens for their offices, cosmetics for their wives and chewing gum for their children. Every one of those items became a message that was stronger than propaganda. 

Trade requires an exchange of more than just goods and money. It starts with increasingly candid dialogue. The very best, mutually satisfactory trade involves trust and consistent fulfillment of responsibility. It is self enforcing. Both parties win. 

Policies and practices of both parties are constantly tested. In the end, the weak ideologies cannot be sustained and valid concepts remain.

Thus, Hungary, the most outward-looking and aggressive trading partner of the 70s and 80s became the first crack in the Iron Curtain. It was not an accident that Hungary, and to a lesser extent Poland, were the countries what brought down the communist block. When Hungary opened its borders, the Germans rose up and destroyed the Berlin Wall.

It all was started with international trade with the west.

Eventually trade will change things in North Korea. 
I have to ask what would the benefits of an open Internet be to the NK Elite? Survival in power trumps anything else. Do they really care about productivity, etc? Somehow I doubt it. Remember, Korea, or Goryeo if you wish, existed as a succession of several northern dynasties for MANY centuries in a state of virtual stasis before the 19th Century. NK has managed to reproduce this immemorial traditional situation. They may well be quite comfortable with the status-quo if they feel it can be maintained.
Just curious . . . did you get to visit Dear Leader's prison camps?  Because word has it that there are hundreds and thousands, if not millions, incarcerated there.  Doing a simple Google search on "North Korea prison camps" turns up interesting results. 
Lola, Yes it is true that North Korea is a totalitarian country but it is also true that the US has more people in jail or prison, per capita, than any other Industrial Nation. In order to make a change you must encourage positive behavior and educate ordinary people to understand what they can do with serious economic development.
+Deborah Boyd how much do you think and,_US_high-income.png  influence ? The upper private sector can sap aggregate demand from the middle and working class just as much as a totalitarian state can, but presumably democracy allows us to be smarter than that, when it's not corrupt.
They are limiting the technology on purpose.  And the Arab spring has shown them they were right to do so all this time.  It's very short sighted to assume NK wants to "modernize" the communication system when clearly it is against their interest.  The welfare of the poor comes after the security of their position which also should not be surprising to anyone.
And why should they follow what we suggest?  Tell them you can choose a democratic system but you will have politicians who wont do things you want done because the wealthy people buy them?  How is that any better?
the whole trip of the Schmidts is just incredibly embarrassing and naive. i just read the book "Flucht aus Lager 14" ("escape from camp 14"). there, a 13-year-old boy Shin Dong-hyuk describes how he was tortured. after reading that you will never forget how bad people act in north-korea. and what do the Schmidts? some blabla about the internet and how "strange" it was during the trip, and that the beds were hard..

I really don't think they'll open up the Internet anyhow soon. Cos, they believe, places outside of North Korea is evil, the leaders won't let the people suffer fm this.
Thanks for taking the time to visit North Korea.  As someone who has been there three times, Contact with the 'outside world" can indeed make a difference.  I noticed some changes between each of the visits.   Hopefully your delegation's effort in the short term will open up the internet and subsequently help improve conditions for all the people of North Korea.  One side note:  the internet seems to have been in effect in North Korea for some time.  On my first visit in 2009, although I had to use their system, I was able to send and receive email to a friend in Florida at the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang.. 
Yes - At this point it hasn't much to do with good or bad. Things are going to continue to open up. 

Step By Step, the trend cannot be stopped. Technology of all kinds, as well as human nature, will see to that. 

Information - People want it, and they gotta have it. And if they dont have it, they will find a way.
Are the North Koreans linked with Baidu at all?  
Reflecting on North Korea and your experience there, I am reminded of what Abraham Lincoln said:

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."
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