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US to bar citizens travelling to DPRK

In a widely expected decision, The US government will bar American citizens from traveling to North Korea because of “mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention,” the State Department said Friday.

The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which represents the United States in North Korea, informed Koryo Tours of the ban on Friday afternoon, Mr. Cockerell said.

An American college student who went to North Korea as a tourist, Otto Warmbier, 22, died last month after having been held in prison in the country for more than a year and then returned to the United States in a coma. He had been sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor for tearing down a poster while touring Pyongyang, the capital.

The notice will be placed in the Federal Register on Thursday — 64 years to the day after a cease-fire agreement ended fighting in the Korean War — and the restriction will go into effect 30 days after that.

Once in effect, US passports will be invalid for travel to, through and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea.

Individuals seeking to travel to North Korea for certain limited humanitarian or other purposes may apply to the Department of State for a special validation passport.

The Trump administration has been considering a ban on tourism to North Korea, but had hesitated, fearing harsh recriminations against three Americans who remain imprisoned in the country.


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