Malaysian UN staff leave N. Korea

Indo Asian News Service

Kuala Lumpur, March 9 (IANS) Two Malaysians working for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) who were stranded in North Korea amid a diplomatic row have left the country, a top official said on Thursday.

The two have arrived in Beijing but no further details were disclosed, The Star daily reported.

"The staff members are international civil servants and not representatives of their national government," the WFP spokesman said.

"They work on WFP's programmes in North Korea".

North Korea on Tuesday barred Malaysians from leaving the country, which led to Malaysia doing the same to North Korean citizens.

A diplomatic row is brewing between Malaysia and North Korea after the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on February 13, the daily said.

North Korea has condemned Malaysia's handling of the case, and accused Malaysia of colluding with South Korea in the investigation.

Malaysia later recalled its ambassador to the hermit kingdom, and expelled North Korean ambassador Kang Chol.