The North Korea travel ban for U.S. citizens has already begun as of September 1. The few remaining Americans left Pyongyang on Thursday by plane heading to Beijing. Some of these persons were humanitarian workers. They hope Trump administration lifts the ban so that they can return to their humanitarian efforts.
Trump Administration Ordered the North Korea Travel Ban as One of Their Released U.S. Prisoners Returned Home in Coma
The announcement of the ban appeared in July. This was when the Trump administration barred U.S. citizens from visiting North Korea as of September 1. The explanation for this severe change is that the country fears that the communist country might resort to detentions of Americans in order to gain leverage over U.S. government.
At the beginning of this year, the world saw how American student Otto Warmbier was finally released from North Korea. He was incarcerated for shaky allegations of stealing a poster with political message.
Unfortunately, the captive was in a state of coma when he reached his homeland where he succumbed to death. Warmbier was one of the 16 cases of detentions that took place in North Korea over the last decade.
Nonetheless, the newly implemented rule has some exceptions. It can allow humanitarian workers and journalists to bypass it. The travel ban is also available for only a year at which time it can receive an extension.
Humanitarian Groups Can Lose Years of Progress in North Korea if They Don’t Return Soon
The U.S. government avoided this way to offer the North the opportunity to incarcerate Americans for absurd reasons such as leaving a bible in a hotel room. On the other hand, humanitarian groups believe this ban works against them.
The director of charity Christian Friends of Korea in U.S., Heidi Linton, is one of the officials that are waiting for a travel permit. However, it is uncertain if this approval gets in time to resume her work.
Linton’s institution has been fighting hepatitis and tuberculosis in the communist country for 20 years. As a consequence, the U.S. government’s decision could put in jeopardy these humanitarian efforts.
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