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US Citizens Won't Be Able To Visit North Korea Much Longer

The State Department has authorized barring U.S. citizens from traveling to North Korea citing safety concerns.
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jul 21, 2017

U.S. citizens soon won't be able to travel to North Korea.

Two tourism companies that specialize in trips to North Korea announced the ban Friday morning. The U.S. State Department confirmed it shortly after, citing safety concerns for U.S. citizens.

The announcement comes shortly after the death of Otto Warmbier.

Last year Warmbier, a U.S. college student, was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea. He confessed to taking a propaganda banner from his hotel in Pyongyang, but it's unclear if that confession was coerced.

Warmbier was released in June and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He was in a coma and had severe brain damage.

Young Pioneer Tours, one of the companies that announced the ban, organized Warmbier's trip to North Korea. After his death, the company voluntarily announced it would no longer coordinate trips for U.S. citizens to visit North Korea.

The State Department said it will publish a notice in the Federal Register sometime next week, and the ban will take effect 30 days after. People still wanting to go to North Korea will have to get a passport with special validation.