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Former U.S. governor, Google chief arrive in Pyongyang


08:58, January 08, 2013

U.S. Former New Mexico state governor Bill Richardson (3rd L) and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (3nd R) arrive at Sunan airport of Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Jan. 7, 2013. Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt arrived here on Monday for a "private humanitarian" visit to the DPRK. The trip is reportedly linked to the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who was detained by the DPRK after he entered the country late last year. (Xinhua/Zhang Li)

PYONGYANG, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- A nine-member U.S. delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt arrived here Monday for a "private humanitarian visit" to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"We will meet government officials and businessmen and try to solve the American detainee issue, and we are interested in the economic and political situation here," Richardson told Xinhua.

Richardson also said he was concerned about the DPRK's missile launch, and believed in the importance of dialogue.

Unlike Richardson, Schmidt refused to answer questions and said he won't do any interviews.

During its four-day visit, the delegation is expected to meet DPRK Foreign Ministry officials, visit the electronic library of Kim Il Sung University and the newly-built Pyongyang Folk Park.

Their visit is believed to help facilitate the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean American who was detained by the DPRK in early November for "committing a crime against the country."

Bae has admitted the crime and would face legal action, the official news agency KCNA said on Dec. 21.

Richardson announced his DPRK visit together with Schmidt in December, but postponed the trip as requested by the U.S. State Department, the former governor said.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that the timing of the trip was not "particularly helpful," given DPRK's satellite launch in December.

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