US Citizens visiting North Korea should make a will and plan funeral, State Department warns
Americans seeking to visit North Korea should draft a will and make preparations for their death, the US Department of State has advised.
The Department has updated its travel advice for US citizens, recommending that they "draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney".
Citizens visiting North Korea should also "discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork etc.), funeral wishes, etc." it says.
US citizens cannot use an American passport to travel to North Korea without a special validation from the State Department.
Such validations are only granted in very limited circumstances - for journalists, humanitarian staff or representatives of the Red Cross, for example.
Last year, 23-year-old American student Otto Warmbier died days after returning from North Korea in a coma. He had been detained for more than a year after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster.
US citizens have been banned from visiting since September 1, 2017.
"The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in North Korea as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea," it adds.
Sweden serves as the protecting power for the US in North Korea, providing limited emergency services. However, the State Department says North Korea's government "routinely delays or denies Swedish officials access to detained U.S. citizens".
"The Department strongly urges U.S. citizens not to go to North Korea due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention," it adds.