While vehemently warning Americans against traveling to the oppressive regime, the State Department said Wednesday that citizens who decide to go anyway should be prepared for the worst.
The department released an updated travel advisory that provides a list of things Americans should keep in mind if they can’t control the urge to go to North Korea.
What stands out is the State Department’s advice that Americans planning to take a trip to the Hermit Kingdom make funeral plans and draft a will beforehand — the point being that those who visit North Korea do so at their own risk.
“Do not travel to North Korea due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals,” the State Department emphasizes at the top of the advisory.
That being said, Americans can travel to the country under “very limited circumstances” if they are given “special validations.” A U.S. passport, the State Department notes, will not be enough.
Moreover, due to the fact that the U.S. government does not have “diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea,” emergency services cannot be provided by the U.S.
“Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency services,” the advisory states, while adding, “The North Korean government routinely delays or denies Swedish officials access to detained U.S. citizens.”
Meanwhile, Americans who disregard the warnings should plan ahead in case they don’t return to the U.S. safely — namely, they should make sure their affairs are in order.
“Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney,” the advisory reads.
“Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.”
The State Department also highlighted the importance of keeping up with its social media accounts and alert systems, as well as having a “contingency plan” in place “for emergency situations.”
The warning comes as tensions remain high between the U.S. and North Korea.
Late last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again threatened to carry out a nuclear missile strike against the United States.
“The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range,” Kim said, while also claiming he could launch a nuclear strike using a button on his desk. “The United States can never start a war against me and our country.”
In November, President Donald Trump designated the Asian nation a state sponsor or terrorism, putting it in the rare company of countries like Iran, Sudan and Syria, according to Fox News.
In explaining this designation — which had previously been removed under the administration of former President George W. Bush — Trump called Kim’s regime “murderous” and indicated it was responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student.
Warmbier was imprisoned in North Korea for over a year. After finally returning to the U.S., he died within days.
“North Korea has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism including assassinations on foreign soil,” Trump said in November. “This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons.”
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