SEOUL, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- As global sanctions and pressure against Pyongyang's nuclear program continues, fewer countries are welcoming North Korean passport holders, the Voice of America's Korean service reported Tuesday.

Citing a passport index of 199 countries, the U.S. broadcaster said the global standing of a North Korean passport has recently fallen from 85th to 86th place.

Only 16 countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria ranked lower than North Korea, with 95th place being the worst ranking.

After Malaysia, Singapore and Switzerland last year dropped North Korea from their list of visa waiver countries, only nine countries allow North Koreans to enter with a passport.

29 nations allowed visa applications upon arrival, as of last year, compared to 44 nations in 2015.

Meanwhile, South Korea topped the passport index ranking, along with Germany and Singapore.

Currently, 161 countries allow South Koreans entry visa-free or issue a visa upon arrival.





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