[00:00.00]Foreign-supported educational centers in North Korea are reducing their activities as more governments strengthen travel warnings for the country.
[00:13.09]The United States recently banned most travel by Americans to North Korea.
[00:21.82]North Korea also remains under a series of United Nations Security Council restrictions.
[00:30.12]South Korea, the U.S. and other nations have also placed their own restrictions on the North because of its nuclear and missile testing activities.
[00:45.32]Britain also has announced additional travel warnings for its citizens, which have affected education links with North Korea.
[00:57.19]A spokesperson for the British Council told VOA, “The British Council suspended the English language teaching program in Pyongyang when the travel advice from the U.K. (British) government changed.”
[01:15.13]The Council added that it is delaying talks on extending its program in North Korea.
[01:23.74]The British Council has operated the English Language Teacher Training Program (ELT program) since May of 2000.
[01:33.67]That year, Britain established diplomatic relations with North Korea to support “critical engagement” with the country.
[01:45.06]The effort was aimed at reducing the country’s isolation through educational and cultural exchanges.
[01:56.35]The Council has trained more than 4,000 English teachers in Pyongyang.
[02:04.33]Four teachers were involved in the suspended program.
[02:09.92]The Council made its decision because the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office increased its travel warning for North Korea on September 3.
[02:22.81]The office “advises against all but essential travel to North Korea.”
[02:30.42]It adds, “There remains a threat of further missile or nuclear tests, which could lead to further instability in the region.”
[02:42.53]On September 1, the United States banned most travel by its citizens to North Korea.
[02:51.67]That ban already may have affect education links to North Korea.
[02:59.15]Last week Pyongyang University of Science and Technology released a statement.
[03:06.90]The university, known as PUST, said classes had been “adapted to suit the available resources.”
[03:16.85]PUST is a private university that is supported mostly by Western, Christian groups.
[03:24.42]It educates the children of ruling families in North Korea.
[03:30.07]Sixty to 80 foreign professors work at the university during each semester.
[03:37.09]A university statement says about half of them have U.S. passports.
[03:44.61]The university did not say how many American teachers will be affected by the U.S. travel ban.
[03:53.45]PUST noted it expects that additional teachers will join during this fall learning period.
[04:02.60]However, some of the university’s teaching activities seem to have been restricted.
[04:09.78]One professor at PUST told VOA that only North Korean professors teach classes in dentistry this fall.
[04:19.87]The professor said the U.S. measure is affecting not only American citizens but other foreign nationals.
[04:29.97]The professor asked not to be identified.
[04:34.94]Another PUST employee, who asked not to be identified, said he would not be returning to Pyongyang this fall.
[04:44.64]The employee said the aid agency that organizes the teaching trips decided not to send anyone to the school at this time.
[04:57.92]The U.S. State Department first announced the travel ban in July after North Korea tested two long-distance missiles.
[05:08.41]It warned of growing concerns over “the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention” to Americans traveling to and within North Korea.
[05:22.66]The ban permits exceptions for some humanitarian or other special purposes, although they require approval.
[05:34.85]I’m Mario Ritter.