Chinese tour agency axes visits to North Korea for US citizens

World News | Published:

The decision follows the death of 22-year-old US student Otto Warmbier, who returned from North Korea in a coma but later died.

American student Otto Warmbier

The China-based travel agency that organised a trip to North Korea for an American college student who died after being released in a coma from detention said it would no longer take US citizens to the country.

Young Pioneer Tours said on its Facebook page that the death of 22-year-old Otto Warmbier shows the risk facing American tourists in North Korea “has become too high”.

Mr Warmbier died in Ohio on Monday, days after being released by North Korea.

The tour operator said it was denied any opportunity to meet him after his detention, and that the way it was handled was “appalling”.

The travel agency specialises in North Korea tours and is based in the central Chinese city of Xi’an.

The company said in its statement: “There has still been almost no information disclosed about his period in detention.

“Considering these facts and this tragic outcome we will no longer be organising tours for US citizens to North Korea.”


Mr Trump said: “Lot of bad things happened but at least we got him home to be with his parents.”

Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier
Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier (John Minchillo/AP)

The student’s father Fred Warmbier said last week he believed his son had been fighting for months to stay alive to return to his family.


Their statement on Monday said he had looked uncomfortable and anguished after returning on June 13, but his countenance later changed.

He “has completed his journey home” to Ohio, the family said.

“Unfortunately, the awful, torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today,” his parents said.

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