PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Google's executive chairman is starting a visit to North Korea that has prompted controversy and fascination.
Eric Schmidt of Google arrived Monday in a country considered to have the world's most restrictive Internet policies. He is part of a delegation that includes former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
It is the first trip by an executive from the California-based Internet search provider to North Korea.
Also on the trip is Jared Cohen, director of the Google Ideas think tank. Cohen is a former State Department policy adviser.
Washington has criticized the trip as not "helpful." North Korea has drawn criticism for launching a long-range rocket last month.
Richardson calls the trip a "private humanitarian mission" but it's not clear what the group hopes to accomplish during the visit.