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U.S. bans Americans from traveling to N Korea after student's death

23 Comments
By Ben Dooley

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Is travel a freedom we have to give up? I've always wondered where the US gets that authority. I get the idea that the state department wants to protect citizens, but isn't this another Nanny State policy in the end? Protecting people from their own stupidity.

Besides, dangerous travel is available closer and cheaper in English speaking areas, like Chicago or Baltimore.

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While I understand the aim, it could have been done in a less heavy handed way. For example, by extended sanctions and criminal penalties to tourists who directly or indirectly spend money in North Korea.

I've always wondered where the US gets that authority

I don't believe US law allows the government to hold you in the country, but they can refuse to issue you with a passport. If you have a sailboat I suppose you could escape, but few other countries would allow you to enter without some international travel document. You could always claim asylum I guess. It's always good to have more than one passport.

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Is travel a freedom we have to give up?

Warmbier would be a million times more "free" today if the US government had seized his passport a couple of years back. Sometimes highly irresponsible people need intervention in order to ensure their freedom, like the freedom not to be tortured and killed for a petty infraction.

Anyway, this info comes from the travel agencies, not from the US government. It seems those companies are in damage control mode.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't believe US law allows the government to hold you in the country, but they can refuse to issue you with a passport.

I just read in a different article that as you say, they will invalidate the passport of any US citizens who travel there.

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Sometimes highly irresponsible people need intervention in order to ensure their freedom

What else does the government need to impose on people against their will to keep them truly free and happy?

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I am not sure what the US government has to do with this but it is old news in any case as the company that sponsored Warmbier announced they were suspending tours around the time of his release.

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Warmbier would be a million times more "free" today if the US government had seized his passport a couple of years back.

No, he'd be alive and free today if he had any knowledge of the DPRK and it's laws. It's common sense that you don't nick stuff in that country, especially when you're a guest.

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Warmbier would be a million times more "free" today if the US government had seized his passport a couple of years back.

Safety and freedom are often inversely proportional.

He would have been safe if they had seized his passport. He would have been less free though.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Stupid. It was his choice to travel to North Korea, and his choice to steal the poster. Who knows what happened to him while he was locked up, and I don't want to sound cold but, well damn what do you expect?

But to outright ban people from traveling somewhere for their own good? Yes, nanny, I'll be a good wittle boy and do as told! What a load of hogwash.

People should be free to travel where they wish, even if they are stupid enough to go to North Korea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

People should be free to travel where they wish, even if they are stupid enough to go to North Korea.

Wanting to visit such a fascinating country isn't stupid. But not doing any research on it, the rules, customs and basic do's and don'ts - that's probably not so clever. A basic intelligence of what you're going to encounter should be a major help.

It's a tragedy, of course but it's one that could have been so easy to avoid.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For example, by extended sanctions and criminal penalties to tourists who directly or indirectly spend money in North Korea.

Actually think it would have been unfair. It seems us authorities want to protect their own citizens from themselves, not cash in on their risk-taking behaviour so total ban makes more sense than no ban yet fines/criminal sanctions I guess.

I tend to think that 'responsible tourism' i.e going there & spending your money locally rather than in govt-run shops/hotels is actually the 'right' thing to do with such countries (was the same with Iran, Burma and a few other countries not that long ago, we were told we were helping Islamists & military juntas if we were going there). Problem is access to locals is so restricted in a country like NK that most of your cash probably ends up in the wrong hands anyway. It's a tough one but perso would love to go there.

Million dollar question, how about dennis rodman & the few other us passport holders (if any) who do get along with KJU?

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Wasn't it ALREADY illegal to travel to North Korea or Iran, on an US Passport ?

How did he manage to get IN there in the FIRST place ?

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China-based Young Pioneer Tours, which had taken Warmbier to North Korea,

common sense is better than any governments orders!

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If people are stupid enough to think NK is an appropriate place to visit then let them go - just name and shame them in the press when they get back. Culturally insensitive thickos who are helping to maintain a despotic regime deserved to be shamed.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A prelude to war?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The US should allow its citizens to travel where ever they want to, as long as they have the means to get there (and back), and have enough knowledge to educate themselves on the laws and penalties which will be brought upon them if they misbehave.

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Good job. If incarcerated the US has to use its political muscle for that irresponsible stupidity.

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The ban is more like a BANd-aid approach. It is applied after the injury. If the USA wants to prevent people from going to NK, Iran, or any other hostage taking country, put the sentence, "By completing and signing this application for a passport, I agree that if I have any problems or I am am not able to return from any country on https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html, I will not expect or request any assistance from the government of the United States of America." Go for it, tourists, and enjoy the experience.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's common sense that you don't nick stuff in that country, especially when you're a guest.

Stupid. It was his choice to travel to North Korea, and his choice to steal the poster.

I don't think he really stole the poster. Watch the video that purports to show him taking it and watch how the man in the poster handles the poster. He handles it with the respect and reverence that a North Korean would naturally have for such an item. It's not Warmbier in the video.

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M3M3M3July 21 09:15 pm JSTSometimes highly irresponsible people need intervention in order to ensure their freedom

What else does the government need to impose on people against their will to keep them truly free and happy?

How about keeping them alive? Or preventing a major diplomatic crisis?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Finally a travel ban that makes good sense.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Many of you believe it is a Freedom to travel where you like.... and I'd have to agree, but there have been too many incidents of unwarranted incarceration in N. Korea... to the point where I agree with the Travel Ban. Every time an American is jailed there.... the government has major headaches diplomatically. Trump always likes to have the upper hand in any negotiation... and not having American lives in the balance always helps.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Saiko, You expressed well.

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