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US to Begin Blocking North Korea Travel at End of August


FILE - View from the Taedong River of the construction of apartment buildings for faculty members of Kim Ch'aek University of Technology in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, May 21, 2014.

The United States will officially begin banning its citizens from traveling to North Korea on September 1.

The restriction, which was published Wednesday in the Federal Register, forbids U.S. nationals from traveling to North Korea due to a serious risk of “arrest and long-term detention.”

"All United States passports are declared invalid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK unless specially validated for such travel," the published restriction reads.

Humanitarian travel and, in some cases, travel for journalistic purposes, will be exempt from the ban, which will remain in effect for one year unless it is rescinded sooner by the U.S. State Department.

The decision to ban travel came after the death of U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who passed away after falling into a coma into a North Korean prison.

FILE - The casket of Otto Warmbier is carried from Wyoming High School after his funeral, June 22, 2017.
FILE - The casket of Otto Warmbier is carried from Wyoming High School after his funeral, June 22, 2017.

Warmbier was sentenced to hard labor in North Korea after being convicted of attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel in Pyongyang.

The 22-year-old was medically evacuated to the United States last month with severe brain damage.

Following Warmbier’s death, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was running out of patience with the North Korean regime. He called Warmbier's treatment a "total disgrace" and described the North Korean government as a brutal regime that doesn't "respect the rule of law or basic human decency."

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