Google chairman urges N. Korea Internet freedom

Updated 11 January 2013
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Google chairman urges N. Korea Internet freedom

BEIJING: Google chairman Eric Schmidt said yesterday he had told North Korea it would not develop unless it embraces Internet freedom, as he returned from a controversial visit to the communist state.
Bill Richardson, the former US ambassador to the United Nations who led the trip, said he called on Pyongyang to adopt a moratorium on ballistic missile and nuclear tests following its widely criticized rocket launch last month.
Talks were also held about an American citizen who is being detained in the country, he told reporters at Beijing airport, after speculation that he could return with the man, Kenneth Bae.
Efforts to “strongly urge” North Korea, a highly secretive and tightly controlled country, to increase the use of the Internet were “the main success of the visit”, the former New Mexico governor said.
Schmidt said he told North Korean officials they should open up the country’s Internet “or they will remain behind”.
“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,” Schmidt said.
“Once the Internet starts, citizens in a country can certainly build on top of it. The government has to do something. It has to make it possible for people to use the Internet which the government in North Korea has not yet done.”
The North has a domestic Intranet service with a very limited number of users. Analysts say access to the Internet is for the super-elite only, meaning a few hundred people or maybe 1,000 at most.
Last week in a surprise New Year address North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said improving the economy through science and technology was a key goal.
But experts said Internet freedom in the tightly controlled country was a distant possibility.


Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

Updated 26 April 2018
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Pakistan eliminated terrorism with monumental cost — Defense Minister

  • Beijing hosted the first SCO Defense Ministers meeting after the organization was expanded in 2017 and added India and Pakistan as full members
  • He said that presence of Daesh in Afghanistan is a source of insecurity for its neighbors

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Defense Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan has eliminated terrorism from its soil at a monumental cost — in the in blood of soldiers and citizens.
The minister made his remarks at the 15th Defense Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing.
He added that Pakistan had adopted a comprehensive national action plan to combat terrorism: “We have suffered economic losses in excess of US $120 billion (Rs 13,920 billion) in our war against terror,” he added.
It was the first assembly of SCO Defense Ministers since the organization expanded in 2017, adding India and Pakistan as full members.

Khan said the continuing turmoil in Afghanistan, including presence of ISIS (Daesh), was a source of insecurity for its neighbors and the entire region.

“Serious challenges facing the region include violent extremism, poverty, lack of trans-boundary water management, drug trafficking, refugees, human trafficking and border controls,” the minister said.

Khan acknowledged the existence of bilateral issues between SCO members, but asserted that these should “never be allowed to impede our collective work.” He encouraged his counterparts to face collective challenges with “courage, harmony and cooperation.”

The minister signed a communiqué with other participants offering support for the “Shanghai Spirit” of building a shared community with peace and stability, development and prosperity.

Defense ministers from the SCO member states including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India attended the meeting. The defense minister of Belarus attended as an observer.