New reports indicate the Trump administration plans to ban American citizens from traveling to the communist regime of North Korea.
Officials who were not authorized to publicly discuss the decision before it is announced and spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press anyway said on Friday that the death of university student Otto Warmbier is the reason that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had decided to impose “geographic travel restriction” for North Korea.
Such a restriction would make it illegal to enter North Korea using an American passport. According to the officials, the restriction would go into effect 30 days after a notice is published in the Federal Register, but they don’t know when that would be, and there’s been no public announcement.
Two tour operators that organize group trips to North Korea told the AP that they had already been informed of the decision.
When imposed by the secretary of state, geographic travel restrictions designate passports as restricted for travel to countries with which the United States is at war, when armed hostilities are in progress, or when there is imminent danger to the public health or physical security of United States travelers. Since 1967, geographic travel restrictions have temporarily stopped Americans from traveling to countries such as Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Cuba and North Vietnam.
The administration had been considering the move since Warmbier died after being medically evacuated in a coma from North Korea last month. While he was in custody, Warmbier, 22, was severely injured from an unknown cause, and his family were told that the University of Virginia student fell into a coma shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea in March 2016. He had been accused of stealing a propaganda poster while on a tour of the country.
At least three other Americans are still in custody in North Korea; a country which has been known to use foreign detainees to manipulate diplomatic concessions.
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Remember Cecil? His son is now dead