It's 2013! Let the madness begin! Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt wants to get as close as possible to North Korea's repressive communist dynasty. So, he's on his way to Pyongyang, a city so bleak that it makes Irkutsk look like Las Vegas back when Siegfried and Roy topped the bill there. Comrade Eric obviously reckons that there could be a seam of gold (well, for Google anyway) in them thar miserable hills. By Martyn Warwick.
Eric Schmidt is taking his controversial trip in the face of considerable western criticism, not least from the US government, but he doesn't care because he IS Google and he WILL lead it to total world domination even if he has to hitch a ride on a North Korean ICBM for part of the journey.
However, the course of true love never did run smooth and there are a couple of hurdles preventing the imminent consummation of a deeply-moving, heartfelt relationship between West and East.
For example, Schmidt seems to have forgotten that ordinary North Koreans citizens have no access whatsoever to the Internet, and the favoured few that are allowed to log on labour under the most stringent online restrictions on the planet. What's more, there's no advertising at all in North Korea, unless you count the endless swirl of hagiography surrounding chubby young Kim Jong Un and his sainted un-dead ancestors.
Schmidt is visiting Pyongyang in company with Bill Richardson, a sometime governor of the US state of New Mexico, where men are men and commies are few and far between. Mr. Richardson describes the trip as "a private, humanitarian mission" related to obtaining the release of a Koean-American citizen who is in prison in North Korea, but that doesn't explain why Schmidt is tagging along
His next utterance does though: 'This is not a Google trip, but I'm sure he [Schmidt] is interested in some of the economic issues there, the social media aspect." (Oops, bit of a giveaway there Bill, you let the Schmidt out of the bag ). "We'll meet with North Korean political leaders. We'll meet with North Korean economic leaders, military. We'll visit some universities. We don't control the visit.
They will let us know what the schedule is when we get there". You can bet your sweet bippy that they will, Bill. They have their own agenda and you'll have to follow it - or else.
This is the headline story from today's North Korean News. "The progressive countries of the world should resolutely oppose and reject the US brigandish logic and high-handed practices in order to develop the fair international relations. The US warlike forces have persisted in arbitrary and high-handed practices, asserting that what they do is in line with international law and everything done by those countries courting their displeasure is a breach of international law." That couldn't be a coded reference to Google, could it? One can but hope.
And this on the day that multi-millionaire French actor Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship to allow him to escape a new tax regime being put in place in his own country. He was pictured in the press dressed in some bizarre folkloric costume and looking like an unfeasibly blubbery walrus in a Hiawatha suit receiving his brand new passport from Vlad the Importer.
The only drawback for Gerard is that he'll have to live in Russia for a minimum of 183 days a year to qualify for overseas residency status and thus avoid French tax rates. With his savings he can probably buy Irkutsk and the surrounding oblast in its beautiful entirety and spend the short but sweaty Siberian summer making friends with some of the 25 trillion mosquitos that will want to have some personal time with him.
I wonder what conditions the North Korean regime will impose on Comrade Schmidt and his ambitions?
2013 is already shaping up to be a vintage year.
please sign in to rate this article