1. Background Information
Americans are often referred to as ‘blacklisted’ from North Korea and it’s important to understand why. North Korea is the only remaining communist state in the world, and its views differ significantly from those of the United States. North Korea has been known to issue sanctions and travel restrictions against U.S. citizens or businesses due to the country’s anti-American sentiment, discouraging most forms of travel into North Korea. While North Korea does have some U.S. citizen tourists permitted to visit for certain purposes, blacklisted citizens are prohibited from entry.
2. Relevant Data
Travel restrictions to North Korea have been in effect since 1950, when the United States first declared the American occupation of the Korean peninsula. Throughout the following decades, sanctions imposed by the United States increased, banning weapons sales and trade deal negotiations. Since then, North Korea has regarded the United States as an imperialistic and oppressive power, leading to a strained relationship between the two states. As a result, North Korea has imposed travel sanctions against the United States, barring any American citizen deemed a ‘blacklisted’ citizen from entering the country.
3. Expert Perspectives
Experts suggest that several factors come into play when assessing the reasons why Americans are blacklisted from entering North Korea. Individuals who have served in the U.S. military, recently visited the South Korean Peninsula, or have publicly criticized North Korea’s leadership are targets for blacklisting due to their perceived ties to the ‘American imperialist regime’. Political and anti-American rhetoric, mainly from North Korea’s leaders, have been repeatedly used as justification for blacklisting foreign citizens and banning their travel. As an expert in international relations, Dr. Lauren Duckworth stated in a 2018 interview, “it’s clear that North Korea is trying to limit the amount of foreign influence, with the goal of controlling its own citizens and the content they’re exposed to.”
4. Insight and Analysis
Overall, it is apparent that North Korea’s decision to blacklist Americans is a symbol of the country’s own economic and political autonomy. North Korea’s hostile attitude towards the United States has caused an extreme lack of trust between the two states, and this is reflected in the lack of travel visas being extended to U.S. citizens. Blacklisting Americans is thus a way for North Korea to distance itself from the United States, reinforcing the message that the North Korean government does not recognize the authority of the U.S. government.
5. Human Rights Violations
Another important point to consider is that the North Korean government’s practice of blacklisting Americans from travelling to the country is viewed by many as a violation of human rights. According to Human Rights Watch, any restrictions on travel to a foreign country without solid justification is considered a violation of freedom of movement, which is protected by numerous international human rights laws. Furthermore, North Korea’s blacklisting of Americans has been seen by some as an attempt to limit foreign contact and knowledge of the country, restricting access to essential information and freedoms.
6. U.S. Policies Towards North Korea
The U.S. government has become increasingly frustrated by North Korea’s actions in recent years and has imposed her own policy of restrictions on North Korea. The United States has sanctioned North Korea in regards to nuclear and ballistic missile testing, trade restrictions with China and Russia, designations of North Korean individuals and entities, and the blacklisting of North Koreans from travelling to the U.S. on certain visas. While these policies have been criticized for their alleged human rights violations, the U.S. government maintains that these are important steps in maintaining its strong stance against the North Korean government and its oppressive rule.
7. The Impact on American Visitors
While the United States’ policies towards North Korea have been successful in deterring North Korean citizens from visiting the U.S., they have also had an undesired effect on American visitors to North Korea. As a result of the U.S. government’s sanctions, American citizens are increasingly facing the risk of being blacklisted by the North Korean government upon their entrance. For those who are lucky enough to be granted a North Korean visa, there is still fear that the North Korean government could blacklist them for any real or perceived slight against the state or its rulers.
8. The Possibility of Change
It is possible that North Korea’s attitude towards the U.S. and the issue of blacklisting Americans could change in the future. As North Korea faces increasing economic sanctions and pressure from the U.S. and international community, the possibility of change has increased. This could lead to a situation in which North Korea relaxes its restrictions on America citizens, while still maintaining its strict stance against outside influences.
9. International Organizations
International organizations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International have also called for North Korea to change its policies on blacklisting American citizens. These organizations have argued that the North Korean government is violating international laws and human rights protections by denying Americans their right to free movement and travel. As such, they have encouraged negotiations that may lead to all Americans, including those blacklisted by North Korea, being granted the right to visit the country freely.
10. Criticism of North Korean Policies
Finally, it is important to consider the criticism that many experts have voiced towards North Korea’s practice of blacklisting American citizens. In particular, many have claimed that North Korea’s practice of denying U.S. citizens the right to travel to its country reflects the oppressive nature of its regime. Additionally, the practice of blacklisting Americans has been viewed by some as a form of state-sanctioned discrimination, which could have serious consequences for the human rights situation in North Korea.