BEIJING – The organizers of a trip to North Korea by an American college student who died after being released from prison in a coma say they will no longer take U.S. citizens to the country.
Young Pioneer Tours said Tuesday on its Facebook page that the death of 22-year-old Otto Warmbier shows that the risk American tourists face in visiting North Korea “has become too high.”
Warmbier died in Ohio on Monday, days after being released by North Korea.
Other well-known North Korea tour operators, including Koryo Tours, founded by British expatriates in Beijing, and Uri Tours, with offices in New Jersey and Shanghai, said this week that they were “reviewing” their policies for American citizens ahead of a possible travel ban that has been mooted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called Warmbier’s death a “tragedy.” He told reporters at a daily news briefing that he hopes Pyongyang and Washington could communicate over related issues.
China, North Korea’s longtime communist ally and biggest source of economic and diplomatic assistance, provides the largest numbers of tourists to the country by far.
Warmbier was among the estimated 5,000 non-Chinese who visit North Korea every year on packages that often include trips to Pyongyang, the capital, as well as the…