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DPRK TV News Reports on Richardson-Schmidt Visit to Grand People’s Study House and KIS University

10 Jan
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) takes a photograph of the Chuch'e Tower (R) from the balcony of the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) takes a photograph of the Chuch’e Tower (R) from the balcony of the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

DPRK state media aired a brief story (33 seconds) at the end of its 9 January (Wednesday) television newscast which showed former Governor Bill Richardson, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen and members of their delegation touring the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang.  The television news story showed Richardson and members of the delegation visiting a circulation desk at the DPRK’s national library, using the library’s computer terminals and taking souvenir photographs of the Chuch’e Tower from the study house’s balcony.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (2nd L) and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (3rd L) begin a tour of the Grand People's Study House in central Pyongyang on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (2nd L) and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (3rd L) begin a tour of the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

The Richardson-Schmidt delegation visit an information desk at the Grand People's Study House (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

The Richardson-Schmidt delegation visit an information desk at the Grand People’s Study House (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen uses a computer workstation during a tour of the Grand People's Study House, the DPRK's national library, on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen uses a computer workstation during a tour of the Grand People’s Study House, the DPRK’s national library, on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

DPRK state media also aired a brief story (32 seconds) on Gov. Richardson, Mr. Schmidt and the delegation touring the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University toward the end of the 8 January (Tuesday) newscast.

Eric Schmidt (2nd L) talks with Bill Richardson (3rd L) during a tour of the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University.  Also in attendance is Korea expert Dr. Tony Namkung (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Eric Schmidt (2nd L) talks with Bill Richardson (3rd L) during a tour of the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University. Also in attendance is Korea expert Dr. Tony Namkung (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson, Eric Schmidt and members of their delegation tour a classroom at the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson, Eric Schmidt and members of their delegation tour a classroom at the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt (C) tour a lecture hall at Kim Il Sung University's E-Library (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt (C) tour a lecture hall at Kim Il Sung University’s E-Library (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

During its stay in the DPRK, the delegation met with several groups of DPRK officials, including a vice minister of foreign affairs, and visited the Korea Computer Center and the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.  With the exception of these two brief stories on Korean Central Television [KCTV] news and several short news items in DPRK print media, the delegation’s visit was a low-visibility event in DPRK state media reporting.

The delegation departed Pyongyang on 10 January (Thursday) and arrived in Beijing.  Richardson said that DPRK officials assured him at one meeting that a 44-year old Korean American who was arrested and detained since early November 2012 was in good health and would soon be put on trial.  Richardson also said that during an interaction with DPRK officials he asked the country to stop nuclear and missile testing.  At a media availability in Beijing, Richardson and Schmidt said that they encouraged DPRK officials to expand access to the internet and cell ‘phones.  According to The Guardian Richardson said that “The internet is important for the welfare of the North Korean people, to expand mobile technology, to expand cell phone use” and Schmidt remarked that “As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world, their economic growth and so forth, and it will make it harder for them to catch up economically.”

Arrivals in Sunan

7 Jan
PRC Vice Minister of Commerce Li Jinzao shakes hands with a DPRK official after arriving at Pyongyang Sunan Airport on 7 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

PRC Vice Minister of Commerce Li Jinzao shakes hands with a DPRK official after arriving at Pyongyang Sunan Airport on 7 January 2013 (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported on 7 January (Monday) that China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Li Jinzao arrived at Pyongyang Sunan Airport, at the head of a delegation of trade and economic officials.  During their stay, Li and the PRC delegation will attend the 7th meeting of the DPRK-China intergovernmental committee in economic, trade, science and technology cooperation.

Chinese Vice Minister of Commerice Li Jinzao (L) arrives in Pyongyang on 7 January 2013 at the head of a delegation (R) attending the 7th DPRK-China Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee for Economy, Trade, Science and Technology (Photos: KCNA)

Chinese Vice Minister of Commerice Li Jinzao (L) arrives in Pyongyang on 7 January 2013 at the head of a delegation (R) attending the 7th DPRK-China Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee for Economy, Trade, Science and Technology (Photos: KCNA)

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (C) smiles after arriving in Pyongyang on 7 January 2013.  Also in this image is Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) (Photo: KCNA)

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (C) smiles after arriving in Pyongyang on 7 January 2013. Also in this image is Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media also reported on 7 January that a delegation led by former US Ambassador and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson arrived the same day.  Gov. Richardson’s delegation includes Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google.

Andray Abrahamian wrote about the Richardson-Google DPRK visit for the Choson Exchange blog.

(Photos: KCNA)

(Photos: KCNA)

DPRK Ambassador Attends Mexico’s Presidential Inauguration, Meets Daniel Ortega

10 Dec
DPRK Ambassador to Mexico An Kun Song (L) met with Mexico's new president Enrique Peña Nieto (C) and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (R) during Nieto's inauguration earlier this month (Photos: Protocol; Office of the President of Mexico; The Kremlin)

DPRK Ambassador to Mexico An Kun Song (L) met with Mexico’s new president Enrique Peña Nieto (C) and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (R) during Nieto’s inauguration earlier this month (Photos: Protocolo; Office of the President of Mexico; The Kremlin)

DPRK state media reported on 8 December that DPRK Ambassador to Mexico An Kun Song (An Ku’n-so’ng) greeted Mexico’s new president Enrique Peña Nieto on the sidelines of Nieto’s inauguration in Mexico City (México D.F.) on 1 December.  According to KCNA Nieto “referred to his will to make efforts for boosting bilateral relations” and told An that he “hoped the Korean people would register great success in the efforts for building a thriving socialist nation and reunifying the country under the wise leadership of the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un.”

An Kun Song also met with Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega on 1 December, also on the sidelines of Nieto’s inauguration.  According to KCNA Ortega told An, “I sincerely hope the Korean people will register great successes in the struggle for building a thriving socialist nation and hastening the country’s reunification under the wise leadership of the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un, faithful successor to the cause of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il.”  The DPRK and Nicaragua have had diplomatic relations since 1979 and Nicaragua’s ambassador-at-large for the Asia-Pacific region attended events commemorating Kim Il Sung’s 100th birth anniversary in April 2012.

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