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North Korea – ranked last in the world in freedom – is one of the most fascinatingly horrific places out there. I wouldn’t want to go, to be shuttled through their propaganda with the risk of serious harm, but I can sort of understands people’s interest in the place. (My brother, for some reason, is keen on visiting.) But this opportunity will soon be lost to American citizens. It’s a move hard to criticize Trump on, given the volatility of the situation.
“A ban on travel by U.S. passport holders to North Korea will take effect on Sept. 1 and Americans in the country should leave before that date, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.
“Journalists and humanitarian workers may apply for exceptions to the ban, the department said in a public notice.
“The U.S. government last month said it would bar Americans from traveling to North Korea due to the risk of “long-term detention” there.
“The ban comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea, which has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.
“North Korea will become the only country to which Americans are banned from traveling.
“American student Otto Warmbier, sentenced last year to 15 years’ hard labor in North Korea, returned to the United States in a coma on June 13 after being released on humanitarian grounds, and died June 19. The circumstances surrounding his death are not clear, including why he fell into a coma.
“North Korea has said through its state media that Warmbier’s death was “a mystery” and dismissed accusations that he had died as a result of torture and beating in captivity.”