The administration is wary for a reason. It fears that Schmidt's trip could give a boost to North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, just when Washington is trying to pressure him.
It was only last month when North Korea launched a long-range rocket in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. While the U.S. and its allies are seeking harsher penalties against the reclusive communist government. That effort is proving difficult because of a resistance from China, a permanent member of the council. Beijing probably worries that its troublesome ally could respond to any new punishment by conducting a nuclear test.