Malaysia expels North Korean envoy amid row over airport killing

Indo Asian News Service

Kuala Lumpur, March 4 (IANS) Malaysia on Saturday declared the ambassador of North Korea to the country as "persona non grata" and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours, amid a row over the investigation into the death of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The decision was made after the ambassador, Kang Chol, failed to show up at a meeting he was summoned to by Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the same day, said Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in a statement, adding no other senior official came to the meeting either, Xinhua reported.

Anifah said the ministry has sent a diplomatic note to the North Korean embassy to inform them that Kang should leave Malaysia within 48 hours from the scheduled time of the meeting, according to the statement.

The expulsion of the ambassador came after Kang and the3 North Korean government accused the Malaysian side several times of "colluding with hostile forces" in its investigation into the death of Jong-nam on February 13 in Kuala Lumpur, and refused to trust the investigation.

Anifah said Pyongyang also failed apologise for the accusations Kang has levelled against Malaysia, and there was no sign of one forthcoming.

Previously, Malaysia had recalled its ambassador in Pyongyang and said it would rescind visa-free entry for North Koran citizens.

These measures were part of the process by the Malaysian government to review its relations with Pyongyang, according to the statement.

Malaysia also defended its impartiality in the investigation, citing the release of Ri Jong Chol, a North Korean man arrested as a suspect following the killing.

Ri was deported back to North Korea on Friday and during his transit stay in Beijing, he accused the Malaysian police of coercing him to confess his crime.

--IANS

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