There are strong indications that the President Donald Trump led government of the United States will ban Americans from travelling to North Korea in the coming weeks.
The news is coming a month after the death of a university student Otto Warmbier, who was returned to the U.S. in a coma after spending time in a North Korean prison.
China-based Young Pioneer Tours, which had taken Warmbier to North Korea, and Koryo Tours said the ban will come into force on July 27 — the anniversary of the end of the Korean War — with a 30-day grace period.
“We have just been informed that the US government will no longer be allowing US citizens to travel to the DPRK (North Korea),” Young Pioneer Tours said on its website.
“After the 30-day grace period any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government,” it said.
They were informed by the Swedish embassy, which conducts US affairs in the country.
It is also understood that US officials have confirmed the ban to US media and linked it to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier, but given no details on date or scope.
Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student who spent more than a year in captivity, died in the U.S. last month after he was released by North Korea and returned home to Ohio.
Warmbier had confessed he tried to steal a propaganda banner while visiting with a tour group. He had been sentenced to 15 years with hard labour for subversion.
The U.S., South Korea and others often accuse the North of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions. At least three other Americans remain in custody in North Korea.