President Trump is considering whether to impose a ban on all American travel to North Korea, the administration's top diplomat told lawmakers.
"We have been evaluating whether we should put some type of travel visa restriction to North Korea," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a House panel on Wednesday. "We have not come to a final conclusion, but we are considering it."
Three Americans are currently detained in North Korea. Tillerson announced the release of a fourth on Tuesday, which drew celebration but also anger from lawmakers who learned that the University of Virginia student is in a coma following 15 months of detention for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster.
But dictator Kim Jong Un has given a warmer welcome to former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who praised the family of dictators as "great leaders."
Such trips have driven some lawmaker to propose legislation banning American travel to North Korea. "And my concern, indeed, [is] that tourists got here simply supporting a dictatorial totalitarian regime," said Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who co-sponsored the bill.
A government restriction on American freedom of movement, even to North Korea, could be expected to draw opposition from other lawmakers who have denounced travel restrictions to Cuba. "Long the party of personal freedom and limited government, we have always found it difficult to rationalize why our side of the aisle would seek to curtail the ability of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba or anywhere else in the world," a trio of Republican senators wrote to Tillerson last week.