If you were thinking of a visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea this summer, think again. Not only is the autocratic nation among the most dangerous places in the world for Western travelers, but it will also be off-limits for Americans if a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) becomes law.
The bipartisan North Korea Travel Control Act (H.R. 2732) would toughen Treasury Department regulation of travel to North Korea by U.S. citizens, and ban tourist travel to the impoverished, isolated country entirely.
“North Korea is a totalitarian state sponsor of terror run by a madman willing to do anything to keep his power, including the brutal subjugation of his own people and the imprisonment and torture of foreigners – including Americans,” explained Fitzpatrick.
“Barring specially approved humanitarian missions, American citizens should not travel to North Korea,” he concluded.
Incredibly, there’s been an increase in tourist travel to North Korea by citizens of Western countries in recent years, including the U.S., according to Fitzpatrick. And the State Department currently has limited knowledge of the number of Americans in North Korea, he says.
“Aside from Western visitors bringing much needed foreign currency, especially valued in a country facing extensive international sanctions for its illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, the North Korean regime has shown their willingness to use American hostages as diplomatic bargaining chips,” said Fitzpatrick. “Kim Jung Un’s desperate actions, mixed with nuclear ambitions, create a direct threat to the safety and security of American families.”
Earlier this year, Fitzpatrick called for increased economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea after it test-fired another ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.
A former FBI Supervisory Special Agent and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Fitzpatrick is serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a member of the Homeland Security, Small Business and Foreign Affairs committees. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th District, which includes all of Bucks County, as well as a portion of Montgomery County.