House lawmakers pitch ban on North Korean tourism

House lawmakers pitch ban on North Korean tourism
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Reps. Joe WilsonAddison (Joe) Graves WilsonGOP braces for intraparty fight on immigration Dems target Trump administration's use of military planes in defense bill debate Trump's effort to secure the border is making America safe again MORE (R-S.C.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases Rubio heckled by protestors outside immigration detention facility MSNBC’s Ruhle fires back at ‘Fox & Friends’ over ‘propaganda’ about migrant children MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday submitted a bill that would tightly restrict U.S. travel and ban tourism to North Korea.

“Tourist travel to North Korea does nothing but provide funds to a tyrannical regime — that will in turn be used to develop weapons to threaten the United States and our allies,” Wilson said in a statement, according to Yahoo News.

“Worse, the regime has routinely imprisoned innocent foreign civilians and used them as bargaining chips to gain credibility with the West,” he added. “We should not enable them any longer.”

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The “North Korea Travel Control Act” would block all tourist visits and force other visitors to obtain permission via a Treasury licensing system.

Schiff and Wilson, both members of the House Intelligence Committee, said that North Korea has detained at least 17 Americans in the last decade, with four still imprisoned.

Pyongyang has used some of those cases to attract prominent Americans such as former Presidents Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBest-selling author jokes he knows 'what Pence must feel like' on book tour with Bill Clinton Bill Clinton blasts family separation: 'Children should not be bargaining chips' In memory of Charles Krauthammer, an American genius and dear friend MORE and Jimmy Carter to negotiate for detainees’ releases.

Several hundred Americans have reportedly visited North Korea annually in recent years, in addition to relief workers and religious groups. There are currently no restrictions on North Korea visits despite rising tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

The Associated Press on Monday reported that North Korea says that it is set to mass-produce a new missile capable of reaching Japan and major U.S. military bases.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly “approved the deployment of this weapon system for action” and said it should “be rapidly mass-produced.”

Kim’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology has emerged as one of President Trump’s earliest foreign policy challenges.