SAN FRANCISCO -- Eric Schmidt, Google's ambassador in chief, is going where few Internet executives have gone: North Korea.
Google's executive chairman will take part in a private trip led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
North Korea does not have diplomatic relations with the United States, and it has some of the tightest restrictions of any country on citizens' access to the Internet. But Richardson, an expert in negotiating with North Korea, has long sought to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. And Schmidt has become a vocal advocate for Internet freedom.
Richardson could not be immediately reached for comment.
[Updated 12:17 p.m., Jan. 2: A Google spokeswoman said the company does not comment on its executives' personal travel.]
The private trip comes just weeks after the U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea for launching a satellite that it said was a test of long-range ballistic missile technology that could carry far-reaching nuclear warheads. An American citizen of Korean descent has also been detained in Pyongyang on suspicion of "hostile" acts against the state. Richardson has twice before negotiated the release of Americans detained by North Korea.