Speed Reads

Travel Bans

The U.S. is reportedly banning travel to North Korea

The Trump administration will announce a ban on travel to North Korea by U.S. citizens on July 27, effective 30 days later, two tour agencies said Friday. "We have just been informed that the U.S. government will no longer be allowing U.S. citizens to travel to the DPRK," or North Korea, China-based Young Pioneers Tours said in a statement. "After the 30-day grace period any U.S. national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government." Rowan Beard, of Young Pioneers Tours, told BBC News that his company was given the information by the Swedish embassy, which handles U.S. affairs in North Korea.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had reportedly been considering such a ban since April, but the effort was accelerated after the death last month of 22-year-old Otto Warmbier, an American student who was arrested in North Korea in January 2016, sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster, then returned to the U.S. in a coma from which he never awoke. Koryo Tours' Simon Cockerill tells the BBC his agency had also been told about the coming ban by the Swedish embassy, and said he was disappointed by the decision. "It's unfortunate for the industry but also for North Koreans who want to know what Americans are really like," he said. The U.S. has not confirmed the news.

Update 7:37 a.m. ET: Unidentified U.S. officials confirmed to The Associated Press early Friday that Tillerson has decided to enact a "geographical travel restriction" for North Korea, making it illegal to enter the country on a U.S. passport.