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Eric Schmidt, Google chairman, to visit North Korea

Sources say he will accompany former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on a 'private humanitarian visit.'

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt Oct. 29, 2012 in Paris. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Sources have confirmed to CNN that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is planning a trip to North Korea.

The sources said that he would accompany former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on a "private humanitarian visit,” possibly designed to negotiate the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tourist who was detained by North Korea last month, CNN reported.

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The trip could happen as early as this month, sources told the Associated Press.

Washington is not happy about the trip, officials indicated. "Frankly, we don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said today, according to Reuters. "They are well aware of our views."

The US and its allies have accused North Korea of testing ballistic missile technology in defiance of a United Nations ban with a rocket launch on Dec. 12, the AP reported. The countries want the UN Security Council to punish Pyongyang with expanded sanctions.

Schmidt and Richardson “are traveling in an unofficial capacity," Nuland emphasized, according to Reuters. "They are not going to be accompanied by any US officials. They are not carrying any messages from us. They are private citizens, and they are making their own decisions."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130103/eric-schmidt-google-chairman-visit-north-korea