Beijing - Google's executive chairman is heading to North Korea.

Eric Schmidt of Google is in Beijing and is scheduled to leave on Monday on a commercial flight bound for a country considered to have the world's most restrictive Internet policies. He is part of a delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

It is the first trip by an executive from the California-based Internet search provider to North Korea.

Richardson told The Associated Press that Schmidt is going as a private citizen and is interested in North Korea's economic issues and its use of social media. He did not elaborate.

Richardson says the delegation also plans to inquire about a Korean-American US citizen detained there. Richardson says he hopes to lay the groundwork for the detainee to return home. - Sapa-AP