søndag 21. mars 2021

N. Korean diplomats leaving Malaysia after ties are severed

North Korean diplomats vacated their embassy in Malaysia and prepared to leave the country Sunday, after the two nations cut diplomatic relations in a spat over the extradition of a North Korean criminal suspect to the United States. The North Korean flag and embassy signage have been removed from the premise in a Kuala Lumpur suburb. Two buses ferried the diplomats and their families to the airport, where they were seen checking in for a flight to Shanghai.

Ties between North Korea and Malaysia have been virtually frozen since the 2017 assassination of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Two days after Kuala Lumpur extradited a North Korean man to the U.S. to face money laundering charges, a furious North Korea on Friday announced it was terminating ties with Malaysia. Malaysia denounced the decision and in a tit-for-tat response, gave North Korean diplomats 48 hours to leave.

Kim Yu Song, the chargé d’affaires and councilor in Kuala Lumpur, said Malaysia had “committed an unpardonable crime.” Echoing Pyongyang’s earlier statement, he accused Malaysia of being subservient to the U.S. and being part of a U.S. conspiracy aimed at “isolating and suffocating” his country.