By Foreign Correspondent Lee Jun-seo
HWAGANG: In light of Lao Sansong’s recent policy regarding policing of WOE, Haesan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has classified the nation at its highest level of alert, a Level 4 Travel Advisory, and issued a “do not travel” warning for all Haesanite citizens. The Sansongian policy, which allows for pre-emptive honor killings of any potential WOE members, in the words of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “leads us to believe that any foreign nationals in Lao Sansong may be at risk of extrajudicial execution without any burden of proof.” The Ministry’s briefing continued, “We highly caution any Haesanites who are planning to visit Lao Sansong, and warn you that your security cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, for any Haesanites currently in Lao Sansong, we urge you to return at your earliest possible convenience.”
The Level 4 classification means that government and university officials cannot receive state funding to travel to Lao Sansong. It also means that all future development aid for non-critical humanitarian purposes must cease. While the government cannot physically stop travel to Lao Sansong due to Haesan’s open borders policy, it is likely that airlines and railway management will naturally curtail their offerings due to the increased risk, and travel to Lao Sansong from Haesan will be all but impossible within 24 to 48 hours.
This development is surprising since Lao Sansong and Haesan have generally maintained close relations, and the border between them is relatively unpoliced. Lao Sansong’s development in recent years has largely been funded by Haesanite aid. Tourism, with a majority of arrivals coming from Haesan, has also been a major component of Lao Sansong’s economic retooling. The change in categorization is almost certainly resultant from a failure of diplomatic negotiations to solve this issue in a timely manner, and it is uncertain how Lao Sansong will respond.
If you are reading this in Lao Sansong and are concerned about your safety, the government advises you to go to ls.haesanembassy.hn in order to find information on how to assure your security and arrange a trip out of the country.