WASHINGTON: Malaysia is listed at the lowest advisory level for safety and security risks in the United States' new four-point safety ranking system.
Among the other countries in Level One: “Exercise normal precautions” are Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Sweden and Switzerland.
Level One is the lowest advisory level.
The United States unveiled the new system on Wednesday (Jan 10), along with an interactive world map to warn its citizens about the dangers of foreign travel.
Ten war zones and countries are ranked at Level Four, “Do not travel”: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
North Korea is also at Level Four, with an additional restriction that US law prohibits American travellers from using their passports there.
Officials have said the system is to make advice clearer to US travellers.
“These are not political documents. These are simply based on our assessment of the security situation,” Agence France-Presse quoted senior consular official Michelle Bernier-Toth as saying.
Meanwhile, US allies Britain, France and Germany are listed at Level Two, “Exercise increased caution”.
Cuba is ranked at Level Three: “Reconsider travel”.
Officials insisted the change was to make advice clearer to US citizens who plan to travel.
AFP reports that some countries have complained in the past that the travel warnings exaggerate dangers and damage tourism, or suspect they have been subjected to a US diplomatic rebuke.
However, each warning is accompanied by a country page on the travel.state.gov website, explaining what specific threats have been identified and why the advice has been given.