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State Dept. to Google's Schmidt: Bad timing for N. Korea junket

The U.S. State Department tells Eric Schmidt that the time is not right for the humanitarian mission, Reuters reports.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Stephen Shankland/CNET

The U.S. government is opposing Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt's plans to travel to North Korea, Reuters reported today.

According to the report, the U.S. State Department said the timing is not right for Schmidt's humanitarian mission. The trip, first reported by the Associated Press, was planned as a private trip, led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. It was expected to take place as early as this month.

In a State Department briefing today, spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, "They are traveling in an unofficial capacity. They are not going to be accompanied by any U.S. officials. They are not carrying any messages from us. Frankly, we don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful, but they are private citizens, and they are making their own decisions."

She cited recent missile launches by North Korea as a reason for the bad timing. Currently, North Korea is subject to U.S. economic sanctions, which would impact any attempt by Google to do business in the country.