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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 WilsonObama said his 'initial instinct' during '09 outburst from Joe Wilson was to 'smack this guy on the head' Democrats raise alarm about new US human rights priorities Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez defeats Valerie Plame in New Mexico primary MORE (R-S.C.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump addresses pandemic but not election during annual turkey pardon Trump relents as GSA informs Biden transition to begin Hillicon Valley: Leadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns | Snapchat launches in-app video platform 'Spotlight' | Uber, Lyft awarded federal transportation contract 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 ClintonDow breaks 30,000 for first time as Biden transition ramps up Trump's remaking of the judicial system Voters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen 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.