President Joe Biden’s administration has decided to extend a ban on U.S. passport travel to North Korea imposed by former President Donald Trump for another year.
Biden’s State Department announced in a Federal Register notice Aug. 26 that the ban would stay in place until Aug. 31, 2022, The Associated Press reported. During the Trump administration, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson imposed the ban in 2017 following the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was arrested for taking a poster from a hotel and suffered injuries that led to his death while in North Korean custody. The ban makes it illegal for citizens to use U.S. passports to gain entry into North Korea, but, in some cases, special validation is given to passport holders to enter the country.
Americans have been prohibited from traveling to North Korea since 2017 due to the death of Otto Warmbier.
As the ban approaches its deadline on Aug. 31, aid workers and other groups are urging Washington to consider lifting the restrictions.https://t.co/RqxmtME7hC
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) August 29, 2021
Since 2017, the North Korea travel ban has been renewed by the State Department, according to the AP. “The Department of State has determined there continues to be serious risk to U.S. citizens and nationals of arrest and long-term detention constituting imminent danger to their physical safety,” the State Department claimed in the Federal Register notice, the AP reported.
“Accordingly, all U.S. passports shall remain invalid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK unless specially validated for such travel under the authority of the secretary of state,” the notice went on to say. (RELATED: Trump Honors Warmbier, Other American Hostages During Press Conference)
Warmbier was arrested as he attempted to leave North Korea in January 2016 with the rest of his tour group for allegedly stealing the propaganda poster.
Warmbier was convicted of subversion and sentenced to 15 years in prison in North Korea. In June 2017, North Korea informed the U.S. that Warmbier had suffered grievous injuries while in North Korean custody.
Trump sent a delegation to bring Warmbier back to the U.S., but Warmbier died just six days after returning at a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Warmbier’s treatment by the North Korean legal system, and his eventual death, provided the impetus for Tillerson to put the ban in place, the AP noted.