North Korea tourism: US ‘to ban Americans from visiting’
The US is to ban its citizens from travelling to North Korea, according to two agencies that operate tours there.
Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours said the ban would be announced on 27 July to come into effect 30 days later.
The US has not confirmed the news.
Young Pioneer Tours was the agency that took US student Otto Warmbier to North Korea. He was later arrested and jailed for 15 years, before being returned in a coma to the US in June. He died a few days later.
The China-based company later announced it would no longer take visitors from the US to the country.
It issued a statement on Friday saying: “We have just been informed that the US government will no longer be allowing US citizens to travel to the DPRK (North Korea).
“It is expected that the ban will come into force within 30 days of July 27th. After the 30 day grace period any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government.”
Rowan Beard, of Young Pioneer Tours, told the BBC that the company had been informed by the Swedish embassy, which looks after US affairs in North Korea.
The embassy is trying to check the number of US tourists left in the country.
There are reported to be three US citizens in custody in North Korea:
Kim Dong-chul, a 62-year-old naturalised US citizen born in South Korea, who was sentenced to 10 years of hard labour in April 2016 for spying
Korean-American professor Kim Sang-duk (or Tony Kim) who was detained in April 2017. The reasons for his arrest are not yet clear
Kim Hak-song, like Kim Sang-duk, worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) and was detained in May 2017 on suspicion of “hostile acts” against the state