Early on in the beginning of this blog I asked an open ended question about the morality of visiting totalitarian states. You can find the post here. http://smallcrowdedworld.com/2013/12/13/holidays-in-hell-is-it-wrong-to-visit-totalitarian-states/
Morality aside, in the case of North Korea it might just be stupid to visit, as there have been several recent tourists who have been held by the state. I find it interesting, and frustrating, that Americans can not legally visit Cuba, but can visit North Korea. I have know several people who have visited North Korea and have made it out, and this happens in the majority of cases, but it doesn’t take much to get detained in Pyongyang.
The most recent tourist made the mistake of bringing a bible. You can read more about it here: http://freekorea.us/2014/06/09/religious-crusades-to-pyongyang-no-dumber-than-any-other-kind/ According to the offical version, the American tourist left their bible behind in their hotel room in a suspected act of subversion. Regardless of what actually transpired, having an additional American hostage can prove useful to North Korea if they decide to go forward with another nuclear test or provocation. At the least, maybe they can gain some enticements or have some important American come and negotiate for their return. Likely, though, most Americans will never hear about this story, or if they do will glance over it. The best chance for this prisoner would be for his family to be loud about it, demand help, etc. Hopefully before people go to North Korea they will think about these things, and if they still decide to go are not careless or naive about the place they are going.