On Wednesday the United States government ordered all of its citizens to leave the Democratic People's Republic of Korea before September 1st, when a ban on travel to the country with a U.S. passport will take effect.
“Persons currently in North Korea on a U.S. passport should depart North Korea before the travel restriction enters into effect on Friday, September 1st, 2017,” the U.S. Department of State said.
The department issued a notice to the Federal Register on Wednesday declaring all U.S. passports invalid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK. The ban on travel will apply for one year after September 1st.
The DPRK will become the only country that U.S. passport holders are forbidden to travel to. Those who violate the ban will be subject to the revocation of their passport.
The U.S. Department of State warned in a statement of the “grave and growing risk of arrest and prolonged detention” that U.S. citizens supposedly face in North Korea.
The travel ban applies to all U.S. passport holders, with exception of those who go there for purposes serving the U.S. “national interest.” Exceptions provided in the law include approved journalists, staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross or the American Red Cross traveling on official missions, and those traveling for “compelling humanitarian considerations.”
The State Department estimates that approximately 100 people will apply for the exception after the ban's effect.
Although U.S. Secretary of State has assured that the U.S. does not seek “regime change” in the DPRK, other U.S. officials, including United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senator Lindsey Graham have said that a “military option” is on the table.