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FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 file photo, New North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang after reviewing a parade of thousands of soldiers and commemorating the 70th birthday of his late father Kim Jong Il. North Korea said Kim has been promoted to Marshal, the military's highest rank. North Korean state media made the announcement Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in a special bulletin. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

The US is expected to ban Americans from traveling to North Korea


The United States is expected to ban citizens from traveling to North Korea after July 27, 2017, travel company Young Pioneer Tours confirmed on Twitter Friday morning.

The company, which describes itself as the "leading travel company in North Korea," said in a statement that the ban is poised to go into effect within 30 days of July 27.

"After the 30 day grace period any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government."
Young Pioneer Tours

The move comes roughly one month after American citizen Otto Warmbier died upon his release from North Korea. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after North Korea government officials claimed he had attempted to steal a propaganda poster.

Otto Warmbier has died just days after being medically evacuated from North Korea

The 22-year-old traveled to the reclusive country with Young Pioneer Tours.

The BBC reported that another travel company, Koryo Tours, also confirmed the ban, saying its Swedish embassy in Pyongyang informed it of the ban.

"It's unfortunate for the industry but also for North Koreans who want to know what Americans are really like," Simon Cockerill told the BBC.

He also said that the 30 day grace period would "give leeway for any [Americans] currently in the country as tourists or on humanitarian work."

Currently, the U.S. allows Americans to visit North Korea under strict provisions. The State Department in May issued a travel warning in May urging citizens not to travel to the country, noting the roughly 16 Americans who have been detained in the past 10 years.

"U.S. citizens in the DPRK are at serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement. North Korean authorities have detained those who traveled independently and those who were part of organized tours. Being a member of a group tour or using a tour guide will not prevent North Korean authorities from detaining or arresting you."
State Department

US officials have yet to confirm the news.

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