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USA will bar Americans from visiting North Korea, tour groups say

22 July 2017, 12:58 | Lionel James

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SEOUL-The U.S. government will ban its citizens from traveling to North Korea as tourists starting next month, according to two of the biggest travel companies that bring Western tourists to the isolated country.

"After the 30 day grace period any USA national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government", Young Pioneer Tours said in a statement.

TASS does not have any official comments from the U.S. authorities.

Travel and tourism officials have voiced concerns about the potentially devastating impact the North Korea nuclear attack evacuation drills could have on the state's largest source of income.

The Reuters agency reported that information on the prepared ban had been confirmed by China's Koryo Tours operator that also organizes trips to North Korea.

"The Secretary has authorized a Geographical Travel Restriction on all USA citizen nationals' use of a passport to travel in, through, or to North Korea", Nauert stated.

After the death of Mr Warmbier, the China-based Young Pioneer Tours announced it would no longer take visitors from the United States to the country. His deteriorating condition promoted North Korea to release him back to the United States, where he died days later.

Inflation falls to 2.6 per cent, but consumers remain squeezed
The drop in inflation is also likely to kill off talk of the Bank of England raising interest rates any time soon. Petrol prices dropped by 1.1p over the period to 115.3p per litre, while diesel also declined by 1.4p to 117.3p.

Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Material is the largest importer of North Korean coal in China, handling about 9 percent of all coal from North Korea, according to C4ADS, a USA research organization.

Among the Chinese companies to be targeted are major ones that import North Korean coal and dispatch workers from the isolated nation, according to several sources within the USA government as well as those knowledgeable about U.S.

The North Koreans had told USA officials that Warmbier slipped in a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill.

U.S. Army veteran Brian Sayler, 40, who travelled to North Korea for six days in May, said he opposed the pending ban.

Mr Cockerell told the BBC the agency would still conduct tours and take Americans until the ban came into effect.

The twin proposals are the first concrete steps towards rapprochement with North since South Korea in May elected President Moon Jae-in, who favours greater engagement with Pyongyang. Westerners make up 5 percent of total visitors, Americans about 20 percent of the Western contingent, according to statistics. He had been sentenced to 15 years with hard labour for subversion.



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