Archive for March, 2013|Monthly archive page

Travel Warning . . .

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 at 11:26 am

Just in case you were considering Spring Break in Pyongyang, the State Department is advising you to find another destination.   Perhaps Cebu, in the Philippines.

Click on above link to enbiggen for easier reading.

From: US Embassy – Seoul
Sent: ‎March‎ ‎15‎, ‎2013 ‎12‎:‎39‎ ‎PM
To: Captain Obvious
Subject: Travel Warning

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens about travel to North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK).  Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention.  Since January 2009, four U.S. citizens have been arrested for entering North Korea illegally, and two U.S. citizens who entered on valid DPRK visas were arrested inside North Korea on other charges.  This replaces the Travel Warning issued for North Korea on September 11, 2012, and it reminds U.S. citizens about the serious risks involved in traveling to the DPRK.

The Government of North Korea has not only imposed heavy fines on, but has also detained, arrested, and imprisoned persons who violated DPRK laws, such as entering the country illegally.  Travelers to North Korea must enter the DPRK with a valid passport and valid DPRK visa.  Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal outside North Korea, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and/or political activities (whether those activities took place inside or outside North Korea), unauthorized travel, or unauthorized interaction with the local population.  North Korean security personnel may regard as espionage unauthorized or unescorted travel inside North Korea and unauthorized attempts to speak directly to North Korean citizens.  North Korean authorities may fine or arrest travelers for exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor, for taking unauthorized photographs, or for shopping at sto
res not designated for foreigners.  It is a criminal act in North Korea to show disrespect to the country’s former leaders, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, or to the current leader, Kim Jong Un.

If North Korean authorities permit you to keep your cell phone upon entry to the country, please keep in mind that you have no right to privacy in North Korea and should assume your communications are monitored.  It is a criminal act to bring printed or electronic media criticizing the DPRK government into the country.  If you bring electronic media, including USB drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, or laptops, into North Korea, you must assume that North Korean authorities will review the information on those devices.  Please be sure that the information contained on those devices does not violate North Korea’s laws or regulations.  North Korea’s penalties for knowingly or unknowingly violating North Korea’s laws are much harsher than U.S. penalties for similar offenses.  Sentences for crimes can include years of detention in hard labor camps or death.

Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea.  The Embassy of Sweden, the U.S. Protecting Power in the DPRK capital of Pyongyang, provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea who are ill, injured, arrested, or who have died while there.  The U.S.-DPRK Interim Consular Agreement provides that North Korea will notify the Embassy of Sweden within four days of an arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen and will allow consular visits by the Swedish Embassy within two days after a request is made.  However, the DPRK government routinely delays or denies consular access.

U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, about their trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .  If you enroll in this program, the State Department can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.  Enrollment also makes it easier for friends and family to get in touch with you in an emergency via the U.S. Embassy

U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy in Beijing directly:

U. S. Embassy Beijing: The Embassy is located next to the Ladies’ Street (Nuren Jie) and Laitai Flower Market, opposite the Kempinski Hotel and Lufthansa shopping Center on Tianze Road near the Liangmaqiao subway stop.
U.S. Embassy Beijing

American Citizens Services Unit
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone: (86-10) 8531-4000
Facsimile: (86-10) 8531-3300
Email: amcitbeijing@state.gov

Emergency after-hours telephone: (86-10) 8531-4000

U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by telephone or email prior to travel.  Please provide the Embassy of Sweden with your name, date of birth, dates of your trip, and emergency contact information:
Swedish Embassy  (U.S. Protecting Power in North Korea)
Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang, DPRK

Neighbor . . .

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2013 at 10:08 am

For those curious about our whacky neighbor to the north, read this article.   One of Mrs. Stockdale’s co-workers mentioned some of this to her last week.   It’s all a pattern that has repeated itself before and will probably happen again.

While this issue is something we are ‘aware of’, life is Seoul is 99.99% normal.



7 ! ! !

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

Happy 7th birthday to the crazy little Stockdale.  As is Stockdale tradition, her ears are now pierced.