The number of countries that North Koreans can travel to visa-free has been reduced to 39 this year, a US broadcaster said Wednesday.
The comparable figure showed an upward trend in recent years with 36 in 2010, 39 in 2014 and 41 in 2016, but declined to 39 as Malaysia and Singapore recently revoked visa-free benefits for North Koreans this year, Radio Free Asia said, citing Henley & Partners's 2017 Visa Restrictions Index. The British law firm annually issues the index ranking countries according to the travel freedom that their citizens enjoy.
|North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol holds a news conference on the recent assassination of Kim Jong-nam, a half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in front of the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 20, 2017. He criticized the interim outcomes of a probe by the Malaysian police the previous day, which strongly hinted at the North's involvement in the killing. (Yonhap)|
The Malaysian government canceled its visa waiver program with the North in the wake the Feb. 13 murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Kuala Lumpur as the communist country is almost sure to have been behind the death.
The 2017 index evaluating 199 countries also designated North Korea as one of 20 countries whose travel freedom is the worst, the broadcaster said.
Two-thirds of the 39 countries that North Koreans can travel to without a visa are Asian and African countries, including Cambodia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.
The index reflects the international community's negative estimate on North Korea, Christian Kalin, chairman of the law firm, was cited as saying. (Yonhap)