The US State Department today weighed in on Eric Schmidt's plans to visit North Korea, criticizing the Google chairman's decision to travel at such a politically sensitive time. "We don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, citing heightened tensions arising from North Korea's successful long-range rocket launch earlier this month.

Both Schmidt and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson are planning to visit the country as early as this month, though the details of their itinerary remain unclear. Despite the State Department's disapproval, it appears that Schmidt and Richardson will continue with their visit as planned, with Nuland telling reporters that both men were well aware of the government's concerns.