The US State Department on Monday issued a "Worldwide Caution" advising Americans to take due caution when traveling abroad, singling out North Korea as a destination to avoid due to "the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention."
"US citizens are urged to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People's Republic of Korea due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea's system of law enforcement," the department said in the advisory.
The North was one of the countries that were cited as dangerous places to visit in the region of East Asia and Pacific, along with Indonesia, the eastern part of the Malaysian state of Sabah, and the southern Philippines, according ot the advisory.
In a country-specific travel warning issued last month, the department said that at least 14 US citizens have been detained in North Korea in the past 10 years. Under law, the department is required to update the anti-North Korea travel warning every three months.
Two American citizens -- college student Otto Warmbier and Korean-American pastor Kim Dong-chul -- are currently detained in the North after being sentenced to long prison terms for what Pyongyang calls subversive acts against the country.
American citizens have often been detained in North Korea on charges of anti-state and other unspecified crimes. Widespread views have been that Pyongyang has often used the detentions as bargaining chips in its negotiations with Washington. (Yonhap)