State Department recommends against all travel to North Korea

The advisory stated that visitors are at risk of arbitrary arrest and long-term detention due to the “inconsistent application” of North Korea’s criminal laws.

State-Department-recommends-against-all-travel-to-North-Korea
The State Department issued its first update in seven months to its North Korea travel advisory on Friday, and recommended against all travel by Americans. Photo by Astrelok/Shutterstock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON,  North Korea may be taking greater liberties to woo foreign tourists but the attractions on offer are no guarantee of the safety of U.S. citizens traveling to Pyongyang, according to Washington.

The State Department issued its first update in seven months to its North Korea travel advisory on Friday, and recommended against all travel by Americans.

“U.S. citizens have been subject to arrest and long-term detention for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the United States or other countries,” the travel warning read, adding that authorities in Pyongyang have arrested Americans even after legal entry on valid North Korea visas.

The advisory stated that visitors are at risk of arbitrary arrest and long-term detention due to the “inconsistent application” of North Korea’s criminal laws.

Americans rarely travel to North Korea, and for those who do, their safety is not guaranteed, according to the State Department.

“North Korea has even detained several U.S. citizens who were part of organized tours. Do not assume that joining a group tour or using a tour guide will prevent North Korean authorities from detaining you or arresting you,” the advisory read, adding, “Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the [North Korea] have not succeeded in gaining their release.”

Expressions of religious or political beliefs could lead to trouble. The State Department’s warning read, “North Korean security personnel may regard as espionage unsanctioned religious or political activities, unauthorized or unescorted travel inside North Korea and unauthorized attempts to speak directly to North Korean citizens.”

Strict regulations against forms of Christianity not sanctioned by the state have resulted in the arrest of at least two U.S. citizens. Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary, was charged with organizing a coup and for his evangelical work, but was later released. In 2014 Jeffrey Fowle was detained for leaving a Bible at a North Korean nightclub, but was discharged after 170 days in detention.

By Elizabeth Shim

UPI