Malaysia expelled North Korea’s ambassador Saturday (March 4, 2017), giving him 48 hours to leave the country as the diplomatic row deepened over the assassination of the half-brother of Pyongyang’s leader in Kuala Lumpur, AFP reported.
Kim Jong-Nam, 45, was poisoned last month at Kuala Lumpur International Airport with VX, a nerve agent so deadly that it is classed as a weapon of mass destruction.
The dramatic killing has sharply soured relations between Malaysia and North Korea, which has not acknowledged the dead man’s identity, but has vehemently protested the murder investigation and accused Kuala Lumpur of being in cahoots with its enemies.
“The expulsion of the DPRK (North Korea) Ambassador is... an indication of the government’s concern that Malaysia may have been used for illegal activities,” Malaysia’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
It said that “the ambassador has been declared persona non grata,” after it had demanded but not received an apology over Pyongyang’s attack on its investigation of the case.
“He is expected to leave Malaysia within 48 hours,” it added.
Malaysia summoned Ambassador Kang Chol for a dressing-down last month over his accusation that the investigation was politically motivated and that Kuala Lumpur was conspiring with “hostile forces.”
South Korea has blamed the North for the murder, citing what they say was a standing order from leader Kim Jong-Un to kill his exiled half-brother who may have been seen as a potential rival.
North Korea warned on Saturday the US will “pay dearly” if it puts Pyongyang on a terror list over the killing.