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Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.
Malaysia has told North Korea’s ambassador to Kuala Lumpur to leave within the next 48 hours, Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
Ambassador Kang Chol failed to show up at Wisma Putra, Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by 6pm on Saturday night, resulting in the ministry deciding to inform him of the expulsion.
The move was in response to statements made by the ambassador alleging foreign involvement in Malaysia’s investigation into the February assassination of a North Korean national named by diplomatic documents as Kim Chol, believed to be Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Kuala Lumpur has demanded that Kang apologize for his allegations, and said on Saturday that “No apology has been made, neither had there been any indication that one is forthcoming”.
“Malaysia will react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation,” the ministry said in a press statement.
Since Kim’s death, North Korea’s ambassador in Kuala Lumpur has consistently denied allegations that the DPRK was involved in his murder.
In his first statement on the killing on February 20, Kang Chol accused Malaysia of “defamation”, arguing that local authorities were working with “hostile forces against the DPRK”.
Speaking in Beijing after having been deported from Malaysia on Friday, Ri Jong Chol – so far the only North Korean to have been arrested in connection with the death of the man believed to be Kim Jong Nam – told press he was detained as part of a plot to “damage the honour of the republic”.
North Korea’s former deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Ri Tong Il visited Malaysia on Tuesday, leading a delegation which hoped to secure the return of Kim Jong Nam’s body to the DPRK.
While North Korea and Malaysia have encountered significant problems since the assassination, the two countries had been enjoying warming relations, most recently marked by the February signing of a cultural agreement between the two countries.
Exchanges between Malaysia and the DPRK had been quite common up until then.
Last December, 18 North Korean companies participated in the 13th Malaysia International Branding Showcase, CEO of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp Datuk Dzulkifli Mahmud told local media.
“North Korea is now looking at using Malaysia as a gateway to South-East Asian markets as it finds the country business-friendly with pro-business policies,” he told the Star Online.
In addition, last July a North Korean public health delegation visited Kuala Lumpur, while at least two DPRK foreign ministry staffers took part in track two diplomacy with American participants also held in the city last March.
Malaysia has told North Korea's ambassador to Kuala Lumpur to leave within the next 48 hours, Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
Ambassador Kang Chol failed to show up at Wisma Putra, Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by 6pm on Saturday night, resulting in the ministry deciding to inform him of the expulsion.