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News updated at 11:38 AM IST

US raps Google chairman over North Korea visit

Washington, Jan 4, 2013, (PTI): 15:23 IST

The US has said the time was not right for Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former diplomat Bill Richardson to visit North Korea, which drew international criticism for a rocket launch last month.

"Frankly, we don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful, but they are private citizens and they are making their own decisions," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

Nuland said the US Government has seen media reports of the North Korea trip of the Schmidt and Richardson.

"As you know, they are private citizens. They are travelling in an unofficial capacity. They are not going to be accompanied by any US officials. They are not carrying any messages from us," she said.

Responding to questions, Nuland said that in view of the recent North Korean actions in particular its missile launch, such a visit is quite unhelpful.

"We don't think the timing of the visit is helpful, and they’re well aware of our views," she said.

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