The U.S. government will extend an existing ban on its citizens visiting North Korea by another year, the State Department said Monday.
The extension, which will go into effect on September 1, renders U.S. passports invalid for travel to the DPRK and is reportedly motivated by Washington’s concerns about “the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention in North Korea.”
“The Secretary has reauthorized the existing Geographic Travel Restriction on the use of a U.S. passport to travel in, through, or to North Korea,” the State Department said in a statement.
“The restriction is effective as of September 1, 2019 and will expire in one year unless extended or revoked by the Secretary,” it continued.
As was the case in previous years, those working in aid, journalism, or in other fields determined to serve the U.S. “national interest” will be eligible to apply for a “passport with a special validation from the Department of State,” it added.
The U.S. first imposed a ban on its citizens traveling to North Korea in 2017, in a move that came partly in response to the death of Otto Warmbier, a U.S. citizen who died following a 17-month detention in the country.
North Korea’s foreign ministry at the time condemned the restrictions, saying the country would “leave our door wide open to any U.S. citizen who would like to visit.”
The ban was extended in August last year.
Prior to the restrictions, NK News estimated that approximately 1250 U.S. tourists visited the DPRK per year, a figure that would generate roughly $2 million dollars in earnings from spending on travel, food, and accommodation.
Featured image: NK News