The US government will file a ban on citizens travelling to North Korea today, which will come into effect in 30 days. This decision closely follows the death of American tourist Otto Warmbier soon after his release from North Korean labour camps.
Roughly one thousand Americans tour North Korea annually, and of the three remaining prisoners held there, two were professors at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Along with Warmbier’s passing, recent events have discouraged tour groups from taking Americans to the isolated country.
The local tourist sector plans to revitalise the “Wonsan-Mount Kumgang International Tourist Zone,” built originally near the southern border for cross-border tourism. South Korea halted tourism after a citizen’s death in 2008, and the town is now intended for the hundreds of thousands of annual Chinese tourists.
Throughout this diplomatic crisis, Pyongyang has officially insisted that it “[doesn’t] care at all.” The public manoeuvre aims to change this, pressuring North Korea’s leadership and slowing the influx of foreign currency.