Two travel agencies that regularly book trips to North Korea told BBC that the Trump Administration would soon be banning American citizens from visiting North Korea.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided to impose “geographic travel restriction” as the situation between Pyongyang and Washington grows ever more tense.
According to US law, Tillerson has the power to designate passports as restricted for travel to countries with which we are at war, when there is imminent danger to the public health of American travelers, and when armed hostilities are in progress.
Considering North Korea’s recent actions, I’d say armed hostilities are in progress.
The ban will be announced on July 27th and take effect in late August.
“Any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government,” said a spokesman from Chinese travel agency Young Pioneer.
The decision to stop Americans from visiting North Korea follows the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, 22, who during a vacation in North Korea was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor after he tried to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel.
Warmbier was released in June 2017 and died soon thereafter from a neurological injury suffered two months after his imprisonment. The cause of the injury is unknown.
Warmbier is one of 16 Americans to be detained by North Korea since 1996. Three are still in custody.
In the meantime, North Korea has refused to accept the peace talks newly-elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in had been planning.
Improving relations with North Korea was one of Moon’s central campaign promises.
“It is an urgently needed task for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula to restore dialogue in the military area and to ease military tension between the South and the North,” said South Korean defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun.
The South wishes to put a stop to the loud propaganda broadcasts that occur at the border, and the North seeks to end joint US-South Korea military operations.
Editor’s note: This should have happened long ago.