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US to ban travel to North Korea in the coming weeks

Relationships with North Korea have been strained since it successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Image: Reuters/PA Images

THE UNITED STATES will bar Americans from travelling to North Korea in the coming weeks, two travel agencies said today, a month after US student Otto Warmbier died following his imprisonment by the regime.

China-based Young Pioneer Tours, which had taken the late Otto Warmbier to North Korea, and Koryo Tours said the ban will come into force on 27 July, the anniversary of the end of the Korean War, with a 30-day grace period.

American student Otto Warmbier (22) was sentenced to 15 years in prison in North Korea when he was convicted of subversion after he tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

The University of Virginia student was held for more than 17 months and medically evacuated from North Korea last month.

He died days later.

International relations with the dictatorship have come under more stress recently after North Korea successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.

General Paul Selva, who is vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of the Staff, testified he wasn’t confident North Korea has the capacity to strike the United States with any degree of accuracy.

“I do agree in principle with the assessment that the North Koreans are moving quickly to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capability,” Selva told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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“What the experts tell me is that the North Koreans have yet to demonstrate the capacity to do the guidance and control that would be required,” he added.

© – AFP, 2017

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