American citizens will be barred by the U.S. from traveling to North Korea beginning next month following a prohibition on using U.S. passports to enter the country, the State Department said Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to impose a “geographical travel restriction” on North Korea following the death last month of American university student Otto Warmbier, who fell into a coma while in North Korean custody. The ban also comes amid heightened U.S. concern about Pyongyang’s recent advancements in its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Figures on how many Americans visit North Korea are difficult for even the U.S. government to obtain. But Simon Cockerell of the Koryo Group, one of the leading organizers of guided tours to the country, said 800 to 1,000 Americans go annually and will be affected.