On Friday, the State Department said it will ban US citizens from traveling to North Korea starting this August. This decision follows the death of an American student, Otto Warmbier, last month after his release from an 18 month imprisonment. He was flown home to Cincinnati, Ohio in a coma where he died six days later.
Otto Warmbier was arrested for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel in a staff-only area of the hotel. After an hour long trial, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. North Korea claimed Warmbier contracted food-borne botulism one month after his sentencing and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill. The medical team at University of Cincinnati Hospital found no evidence indicating botulism.
The State Department has long advised against Americans visiting, but spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated that the new decision bars the use of US passports to “to travel in, through, or to North Korea”. Once the ban is in effect, US citizens will need special validation to travel to or within North Korea.
This ban comes two days after North Korea launched their new tourism website where those keen to experience the life of a North Korean can even book a “labor tour”. Since, travel to North Korea is now banned – click through to see some eerily beautiful images inside of North Korea.