NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 26, 2013

Legislator plans to visit North Korea in August

BOSTON — When the legislative session slows down next month, Rep. Paul Heroux (D-Attleboro) won’t be joining the legions of Massachusetts vacationers headed to local beaches or far-flung resorts to blow off steam. His time off is going to be a bit more structured.

Heroux plans to head to North Korea Aug. 10 to see how the isolated communist nation operates.

“It’s an opportunity to be one of 2,000 people, because that’s what I’ve read, only about 2,000 tourist visas are given each year to get into North Korea,” Heroux told the News Service. “What other people read about in the news, I’ll be able to see firsthand.”

If North Korean officials approve his visit, the freshman Democrat from Attleboro will touch down in the country Aug. 12 for an eight-day stay and visit the capital city of Pyongyang, a local university, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea and other points of interest.

Heroux said the trip will not be a vacation and that he enjoys spending time in places where he can learn.

Accompanying Heroux will be a group of Harvard University students and graduates who have spent their own money to organize the trip through a Chinese travel agency. Heroux has a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

According to Heroux, the group will stay at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, which is situated on an island to isolate visitors from the rest of the country.

“It’s intentionally on a peninsula so we have less access to everybody else in the country. They will be keeping us completely separated and segregated from the citizens of Pyongyang and North Korea. We’re not allowed to have any contact with them unless they’ve been carefully screened,” Heroux said.

According to Heroux, North Korean authorities will go a long way to shield visitors from the nation’s 24.7 million people, even closing down whole shopping malls when tourists visit.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Special Features