The Biden administration is extending for another year a ban on the use of U.S. passports for travel to North Korea, the State Department said Tuesday. The ban was imposed in 2017 and has been renewed every year since.
The latest extension comes as tensions with North Korea are rising over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and the uncertain status of Travis King, a U.S. service member who last month entered the country through its heavily armed border.
“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 department said in a notice to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday that was signed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The ban makes it illegal to use a U.S. passport for travel to, from or through North Korea, unless it has been specifically validated in the case of a compelling national interest. It will remain in place until Aug. 31, 2024, unless it is extended or rescinded.
The ban was first imposed during the Trump administration by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017 after the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who suffered grievous injuries while in North Korean custody.