CSIS: U.S. should consider immediate travel ban on N. Korea

WASHINGTON-- The United States should consider an executive order immediately banning all tourist travel to North Korea for the time being, a major U.S. think tank said Wednesday amid outrage over the death of an American student following his comatose release from the North.

The Korea Chair office of the Center for Strategic and International Studies also suggested imposing sanctions on all tour groups, including the one that took the ill-fated American student, Otto Warmbier, to the North.

"The North Koreans were incapable of medically treating the ailing student. They were then incapable of making a decision to seek external medical advice and medical evacuation for well over a year," the office said in a newsletter.

The U.S. should used its protecting power, Sweden, and the New York dialogue channel with North Korea to demand a full explanation of what happened to Warmbier and an immediate release of all three other Americans still detained in the communist nation, it said.

"The U.S. might consider an Executive Order calling for an immediate, but temporary, travel ban on all American citizens visiting North Korea for tourism given current conditions," it said. "The U.S. Department of the Treasury could consider sanctions on all tour groups, including Young Pioneer Tours who took Warmbier to North Korea, that solicit American tourists for travel to the North."

It was the latest in a series of calls for a ban on travel to the North in the wake of Warmbier's death.

Last month, a bipartisan group of congressmen, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), introduced the North Korea Travel Control Act (H.R.2732) that would prohibit travel to North Korea by Americans without permission from the government.

The bill is still pending in the House.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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