Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Monday advised citizens not to travel to North Korea, only a day after an Israeli company said it would be organizing tours to the secretive state.
On Sunday, an Israeli tourism company revealed that it had won an exclusive agreement to issue tourist visas for North Korea, whose human rights record has been condemned annually by the UN General Assembly since 2005, and whose ballistic missile tests have been slammed for contravening UN Security Council resolutions.
On Monday, the Ministry recommended that Israelis avoid the country, with which it has no diplomatic relations, because of the difficulties that could arise if a traveler needed help.
But the ministry emphasized that it was leaving the decision and the sole responsibility for such a visit up to each individual.
It was an about-face from the ministry that on Sunday said there “is no travel warning for North Korea, and no specific ban on traveling there.”
“We of course recommend extreme caution, since there are no diplomatic relations with North Korea, but it is not classified as an enemy country.”
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, now the Foreign Minister, said North Korea was part of an “axis of evil.”
On Monday, the UN Security Council said it planned to hold urgent consultations following North Korea’s ballistic missile test on Sunday — the country’s first since October 20, CNN reported.
— Stuart Winer contributed to this report.