Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, center, arrives at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Schmidt arrived in the North Korean capital along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson called the trip to North Korea a private humanitarian visit. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
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.