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U.S. imposes travel ban on North Korea and 7 others

Sept 26,2017
WASHINGTON - The United States imposed travel restrictions Sunday on North Korea and seven other nations deemed to be a security risk.

Under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump, citizens of North Korea, Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen will face travel restrictions starting Oct. 18.

“North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements,” the proclamation reads. “The entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.”

The controls come as Trump’s temporary travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations is set to expire the same day, 90 days after it took effect. Of the six, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen are on the new list, but Sudan has been dropped. The travel ban on North Koreans follows an earlier ban on U.S. nationals traveling to the communist nation. That measure took effect on Sept. 1 in the wake of the death of an American college student who fell into a coma shortly after being detained in Pyongyang last year.

Tensions have run high between Washington and Pyongyang as their leaders have engaged in a war of words over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

On Saturday, North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong-ho said a strike against the U.S. mainland was “inevitable” after Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man” and threatened to “totally destroy” his nation.

“This is a critical step toward establishing an immigration system that protects Americans’ safety and security in an era of dangerous terrorism and transnational crime,” the White House said in a statement.

It said the eight countries failed to comply with a new U.S. government baseline designed to ensure travelers do not pose a national security or public safety threat.

The Secretary of Homeland Security recommended instead that its travelers be subject to additional scrutiny.

The new measures are conditional and can be lifted if the targeted countries “work with the United States Government to ensure the safety of Americans,” according to the White House.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said his department will coordinate with other government agencies to enforce the new measures in an “orderly manner.”

“We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners who share our commitment to national and global security,” he said in a statement.

Soon after the proclamation’s release, Trump posted a message on Twitter: “Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”

Yonhap