Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday reminded citizens not to travel to North Korea in light of escalating tensions in the region.
The warning came ahead of the first Israeli organized group trip to the country, scheduled to leave next Tuesday.
The ministry said Israelis should avoid the country due to the increased risk of international conflict, because the regime is under international sanctions, and because Israel has no diplomatic ties with the regime.
“If an Israeli citizen encounters any kind of trouble during a visit there, Israeli representatives will not be able to assist or provide any kind of help,” the ministry said in a statement.
An advertisement from an Israeli travel agent for the 11-day trip to North Korea and China claims that it will take tourists to Pyongyang, to the Korean Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, national parks and nature reserves.
This week the United States ratcheted up its rhetoric against the regime ahead of North Korea’s military parade and failed missile launch over the weekend, and Vice President Mike Pence on Monday declared that the era of US “strategic patience” in dealing with Pyongyang was over.
Washington wants to achieve security “through peaceable means, through negotiations. But all options are on the table as we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of South Korea,” Pence said at the border village of Panmunjom.
In February the Foreign Ministry issued a similar warning against visiting North Korea following an announcement by an Israeli tourism company that it had won an exclusive agreement to issue tourist visas for the country.
However, the ministry emphasized that it was leaving the decision and the sole responsibility for such a visit up to each individual.
North Korea’s human rights record has been condemned annually by the UN General Assembly since 2005, and its ballistic missile tests have been slammed for contravening UN Security Council resolutions.
North Korea has in the past denounced Israel as an “imperialist satellite” and has recognized the sovereignty of Palestine over all Israel, except for the Golan Heights, which it says is part of Syria.
It specifically excluded Israelis, along with citizens of Japan and the US, when it opened its borders to Western tourists in 1986.
In 2010, Avigdor Liberman, then the Foreign Minister, said North Korea was part of an “axis of evil.”
AFP contributed to this report.