March 4, 2017
Malaysia expels North Korean Ambassador
Wisma Putra has expelled North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol. This was after he failed to turn up as Wisma Putra at 6pm today despite being summoned to explain his previous statements against Malaysia.
Wisma Putra sent a diplomatic note to the North Korean embassy, informing him that he has 48 hours to leave the country.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in a statement tonight said the North Korean envoy was to meet with the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Secretary-General for Bilateral Affairs Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin.
“However, neither the Ambassador nor senior officials of the embassy were in the position to be present at the ministry. He is expected to leave Malaysia within 48 hours from the scheduled time of the meeting, namely 6pm, March 4, 2017,” said Anifah.
Explaining the grounds of the expulsion, Anifah said that Foreign Ministry officials led by Raja Nushirwan had on Tuesday met with the high-level North Korean delegation led by Kim Song.
“During the meeting, the Malaysian Government demanded a written apology from the DPRK for the accusations recently made against Malaysia by the DPRK Ambassador.
“The DPRK delegation was informed that if no response is received by 10pm that day, the Malaysian government would take measures that would best protect its interests.
“Almost four days have passed since the deadline lapsed. No such apology has been made, neither has there been any indication that one is forthcoming.
“For this reason, the Ambassador has been declared Persona Non Grata,” he said.
With the declaration, Anifah said Kang Chol is barred from entering or remaining in Malaysia.
Anifah said the declaration is the most serious form of disapproval that a country can apply to foreign diplomats and is also used to express displeasure at the conduct or policies of the sending state.
He said under Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, if the sending state refuses to recall the Ambassador, he shall no longer be deemed as a member of a diplomatic mission.
“It should be made clear – Malaysia will react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation,” he said.
Kang Chol had on February 18 accused Malaysia of a biased investigation into the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
He also accused Malaysia of colluding with outside powers to defame North Korea. Kang Chol repeated the allegations on February 20. The North Korean embassy reiterated the claims on February 22.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, have since been charged with the murder of Jong-nam.
Jong-nam died on February 13 after a chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used against him at KL International Airport 2.
Police believe four North Korean men were the main suspects, but they have since fled the country.
Anifah said the release of another North Korean citizen, Ri Jong-chol, due to lack of evidence to charge him was proof that the Malaysian investigation was impartial, fair and transparent. Ri had accused Malaysia of a conspiracy against Pyongyang after his release and deportation.
Kang Chol’s expulsion comes on the heels of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s announcement that the visa-free policy for North Korea visitors would be terminated effective Monday.
“These measures are part of the process by the Malaysian government to review its relations with the DPRK,” he said.