North Korea suspends tour visas ahead of foundation day anniversary

NEW DELHI: North Korea has stopped processing tourist visas for foreigners ahead of a high profile anniversary next month, according to a China-based tour operator.

The measure follows reports that Pyongyang had suspended visits by Chinese tour groups as it prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as the country is officially known.

Koryo Tours, a popular agency among Western tourists seeking to visit DPRK, publishing updates on its website said that it had been “informed on 13 August by our partners in Pyongyang that they had been instructed from above that all tourist visa applications currently underway are to be frozen”.

It was not given a reason for the freeze, the travel agency said, but was told it would apply until the anniversary on September 9.

“This suggests to us that… a higher power in the country is simply pressing pause on tourism until it is clear to them who is coming in such delegations…

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