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US to ban Americans from traveling to North Korea

22 July 2017, 12:57 | Melanie Burgess

US to ban Americans from traveling to North Korea

There has been no response from Kim Jong-un’s regime to South Korea’s request but a newspaper in the idea described the idea of talks as “nonsense”

General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate armed services committee on July 18 that "we have to entertain that potential option" of a pre-emptive strike against the country. He had spent 18 months in captivity in North Korea. The 22-year-old died June 19 and his death triggered widespread criticism from US officials against the Kim Jong Un-led regime.

How did the news come to light?

Another tour operator, Young Pioneer Tours, said in a Twitter message that it had also been informed of the ban, citing the same date. North Korean authorities have detained those who traveled independently and those who were part of organized tours.

Kim Sang-duk, a 58-year-old USA citizen also known as Tony Kim, was teaching accounting at the university.

South Korea pressed North Korea on Friday to respond urgently to its offer issued at the start of the week to relaunch bilateral Korean military talks.

The State Department on Friday said Americans who seek to travel to North Korea will need a "special validation passport" after the "geographical travel restriction" on USA citizens travelling there takes effect.

"It's not great", Cockrell said of the ban.

The State Department announced the decision late Friday morning, though two large travel agencies and anonymous US officials indicated earlier that the ban would be coming.

How have the travel agencies reacted?

The agency said the North Korea threat is "currently assessed to be low", according to Hawaii News Now.

She said Americans who wanted to travel to North Korea "for certain limited humanitarian or other purposes" could apply for special passports to do so.

Beijing-based Young Pioneers Tours had organized United States college student Otto Warmbier's trip to North Korea.

In 2014 it was estimated by a researcher from a think tank in South Korea that the North earned between £23.5 million and £33.5 million from tourism.

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"Due to safety and security concerns, Secretary [Rex] Tillerson has authorized a Geographical Travel Restriction for #NorthKorea", the State Department tweeted.

Following Warmbier's death, Young Pioneer Tours announced it would no longer organize tours for United States citizens to North Korea.

Reacting to it, the USA had then said that it was an ICBM with an estimated range of 5,500 kilometers and capable of hitting Alaska.

Two agencies offering trips to the secretive state said the USA would soon ban its citizens from visiting.

The new rule will not affect many Americans.

North Korea only relaxed its rules for American visitors in 2010.

The State Department had no immediate response to the reports.

Well the number of people who visit North Korea might be higher than you think Simon Cockerell, who represents the Koryo company in Beijing, says that between 800 to 1,000 Americans visit North Korea every year.

What happened to Otto Warmbier?

Warmbier had confessed he tried to steal a propaganda banner while visiting with a tour group.

Before he was medically evacuated from North Korea, he was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor. It said although the chances of a nuclear attack are small, "with the unpredictable leadership of North Korea, Hawaii needs to take steps to prepare just in case".

His family rejected North Korea's version of events, saying he had been subjected to "awful torturous mistreatment". The first American to be detained since President Donald Trump took office, he was arrested at the Pyongyang airport in April while trying to fly to China with his wife.

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