Malaysia gives N. Korean diplomats 48-hour ultimatum to leave as ties cut

March 19, 2021
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Malaysia on Friday denounced North Korea’s decision to cut diplomatic ties, described it as unfriendly and unconstructive, and then ordered all North Korean embassy staff and their families to leave the country within 48 hours.

The diplomatic dispute escalated after an extradition order was carried out against a North Korean citizen wanted by the U.S.

“Mun Chol-myong, who had been living in Malaysia, was arrested in 2019 following allegations of conspiracy to launder money and money laundering,’’ as well as violating UN sanctions, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said.

The extradition prompted North Korea’s Foreign Ministry to announce the “total severance of the diplomatic relations with Malaysia” over the “unpardonable crime” of extraditing Mun to the U.S.

Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said it “deeply regrets” North Korea’s severing of ties.

“Malaysia denounces the decision as unfriendly and unconstructive, disrespecting the spirit of mutual respect and good neighborly relations among members of the international community,” a ministry statement said.

The ministry said North Korean embassy staff in Kuala Lumpur and their dependents had 48 hours to leave the country.

Malaysia will close its embassy in Pyongyang, where operations have been suspended since the 2017 assassination in Kuala Lumpur International Airport of Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Relations between the two countries have been sour since.

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