Google chief visit to North Korea 'unhelpful,' U.S. government says

Google CEO Eric Schmidt speaks at the Google Google CEO Eric Schmidt speaks at the Google conference in San Francisco. (May 20, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is voicing opposition to a planned North Korea visit by Google's executive chairman.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the timing of the visit by Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is, quote, "unhelpful."

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People familiar with the plans tell The Associated Press the trip will happen as early as this month.

Last month, North Korea shot a satellite into space on the back of a three-stage rocket in defiance of a U.N. ban. Washington and others decried it as a covert test of ballistic missile technology and are seeking U.N. Security Council action against Pyongyang.

Nuland said Schmidt and Richardson were "well aware" of the U.S. government's views. She said they would be traveling as private citizens and carrying no messages from Washington.

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