The US is to ban its citizens from traveling to North Korea.
Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, who both operate there, said the ban would be announced on 27 July to come into effect 30 days later.
They were informed by the Swedish embassy, which conducts US affairs in the country.
US officials have confirmed the ban to US media and linked it to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier, but given no details on date or scope.
The “serious risk” of further detentions prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to authorize “a Geographical Travel Restriction on all U.S. citizen nationals’ use of a passport to travel in, through, or to North Korea,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang operates as a conduit between the U.S. and North Korea, which do not maintain diplomatic relations.
Up to now, the U.S. policy has been that it “strongly recommends against all travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea.”
News of the ban comes on the heels of North Korea launching a new website that seeks to promote tourism to the country that’s been at odds with much of the international community over its nuclear and missile programs.
As NPR’s Colin Dwyer reported, “At least 16 Americans have been arrested by North Korean authorities in the past decade, according to the State Department — and that includes ‘those who traveled independently and those who were part of organized tours.’ ”
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