North Korea tested a long-range rocket last month, despite President Obama’s warning against it.

The State Department has emphasized that the trip is unofficial, and noted that the "the timing of this [trip] is [not] particularly helpful.”

Richardson, a former United Nations ambassador, said the State Department should not be “nervous” about the trip. He is expected to lobby for the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour guide who was detained late last year, while in the country.

Google has described Schmidt’s visit as “personal,” although the group also includes another Google official, Jared Cohen, according to Reuters.