September 26, 2020

The first North Korean crisis in Malaysia

Years before Kim Jong Nam's death, North Korean agents hatched a plot to wreak havoc in Malaysia

The recent assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport took the world by surprise. Soon after the incident, journalists and analysts started to look into the history of Malaysia-North Korea relations to better understand why North Korea carried out such a brazen act with a WMD toxin in a major international airport in a country which maintained relatively friendly relations with Pyongyang.

Most of these initial reports on Malaysia-North Korea relations solely relied on online sources. Wanting to go beyond the power of Google web searches, I delved into the ROK Foreign Ministry archives. Some digging, revealed that this recent incident was not the first time North Korea conspired to create havoc in Malaysia.