Heart-ache: US to ban travel to world’s worst tourist nation

Ed Morrissey Posted at 10:01 am on July 21, 2017

And when we say worst, we’re not referring to rude retailers and bad prices. We’re talking about a tourist trap in the most literal and terrifying sense. The two companies that arrange for Americans to spend their vacations in the magical kingdom of North Korea have told media outlets that the US will act shortly to put an end to that tourism. The announcement will come as soon as next week, Reuters reports:

Two tour agencies that arrange trips to North Korea said on Friday the U.S. government will soon ban its citizens from traveling there, after the death of a U.S. student arrested there while on a tour.

Koryo Tours said the ban would be announced on July 27 and would go into effect 30 days later. It said the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, which handles consular affairs for the United States in the North, informed it of the ban, but did not say how long it would last.

“But it does seem to be the case that in just over a month, it will be impossible for Americans to visit as tourists,” Koryo Tours general manager Simon Cockrell told Reuters by telephone.

The BBC reports that both tour operators got word through the Swedish embassy about the upcoming move. (Sweden assists the US with diplomatic issues in Pyongyang as we have no diplomatic relations with the Kim regime.) The point of the early warning was to get any Americans on current tours out of North Korea ASAP. The State Department has issued warnings for the last two months about refraining from travel there, but had not yet taken steps to stop it altogether.

That raises some questions about why the two operators are openly discussing this now. If there are any Americans on current tours, it’s a signal to the Kim regime to go after them. Hopefully there aren’t any to kidnap and imprison, but if there are, we may not know about it for a while.

CBS News confirmed it with a source in the Trump administration this morning:

A senior Trump administration official has confirmed to CBS News that the U.S. government will ban American citizens from traveling to North Korea from the end of August.

The official said the State Department would soon release details of the ban, the prospect of which first surfaced early Friday morning when a tour operator that runs organized trips to the North said it had been told the ban was imminent.

Good thing Dennis Rodman made his pilgrimage last month, eh? Otherwise he couldn’t have represented Pot Coin to the merry and well-fed people of North Korea … all fifty of them.

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