File Photo: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (not in the picture) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Aug. 28, 2017. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday expanded a travel ban to include visitors from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in East Asia, Venezuela in Latin America and Chad in central Africa.
Meanwhile, Trump kept the controversial travel ban which was set to expire Sunday on five of six Muslim-majority countries, namely Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, and lifted restrictions on Sudan.
The new travel restrictions are expected to take effect on Oct. 18 and will be indefinite, according to a president's proclamation, in which the White House said has the same force as an executive order.
Such a grace period may prevent mass confusions and chaos across U.S. airports seen in late January, when the initial travel ban took effect immediately upon Trump's announcement.
"The State Department will coordinate with other federal agencies to implement these measures in an orderly manner," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
Unlike the previous versions of Trump's travel ban, which sparked nationwide protests and lawsuits, the new standards are based on factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with embedded traveller information or share information about travelers' terror-related and criminal histories, the administration said.
The United States then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.
Moreover, as the DPRK and Venezuela included, the new travel restrictions will no longer be seen as a "Muslim ban," analysts said.
However, these limits will have little practical impact on the two countries as few DPRK visitors travel to the United States and the new restrictions on Venezuela apply only to government officials, not to the broader population, according to local experts.
"As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people," Trump said in the proclamation.
"Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet," Trump tweeted on Sunday evening.
Trump said in the proclamation that Iraq also did not meet requirements for identity-management protocols and other risk-mitigating factors, but entry restrictions were not warranted given Iraq's relations with the United States and its efforts to combat terrorists.
The U.S. president issued his first travel ban order one week after taking office on Jan. 20, barring U.S. entry to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen with immediate effect.
Facing nationwide protests and an array of lawsuits, Trump introduced a revised order on March 6, dropping Iraq from the list of targeted countries while excluding existing visa and green card holders from the impact of the suspension.
The revised order was also challenged by several federal judges and set for an argument at the Supreme Court on Oct. 10. It's unclear how the latest restrictions will impact that case.
Days ago, the U.S. president called for a "tougher" travel ban after a bomb partially exploded on a London subway.
"The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!" Trump tweeted last week.