FOREIGN POLICY

After Otto Warmbier death, officials push to restrict tourism in North Korea

U.S. officials renewed efforts Tuesday to ban or restrict tourism in North Korea after the death of college student Otto Warmbier. 

Inside the Trump administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been weighing such a move since late April, a senior State Department official said. The official told the AP that deliberations gained new urgency after Warmbier's death. 

On Capitol Hill, calls to crack down on U.S. travel to the rogue state already are being made. 

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said those "stupid” enough to want to travel to North Korea should be required to sign a waiver that would absolve the U.S. government of any blame for harm to those citizens while abroad.

McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said North Korea "murdered" Warmbier.

President Trump said Tuesday that what happened to Warmbier is a “total disgrace” and his lengthy detention “should never ever be allowed to happen.”

Separately, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called for the passage of a bill he had introduced with Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., that would ban U.S. tourist travel to the country.

“The North Korean regime has shown once again that it is perfectly willing to treat Americans who visit their nation as hostages to extract concessions from the United States, and to put their lives in danger,” Schiff said in the statement.

The North Korea Travel Control Act, introduced last month, would have the Treasury Department require a license for any travel related to North Korea by American citizens – and would ban licenses for tourist travel.

University of Virginia student Warmbier died Monday in a Cincinnati hospital, days after returning to the U.S. in a coma after being held in North Korea for 17 months.

While the State Department has strongly warned against any travel to North Korea for years, at least 17 Americans have been detained in the past 10 years -- three are still currently imprisoned.

Schiff said Tuesday that traveling to North Korea is not only dangerous but helps fund “one of the most brutal and despotic regimes in the world.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.