Malaysia said on Saturday it has expelled the North Korean ambassador in a deepening diplomatic row over the assassination of the half-brother of Pyongyang’s leader at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. “The ambassador has been declared persona non grata,” Malaysia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding it had demanded but not received an apology over Pyongyang’s attack on its investigation of the case.
Watch What Else Is Making News:
“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,” the statement added. Kim Jong-Nam, 45, was poisoned last month with VX, a nerve agent so deadly that it is classed as a weapon of mass destruction.
The dramatic killing at Kuala Lumpur airport prompted an international probe and lurid stories of North Korea’s Cold War-style tradecraft. 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, which has not acknowledged the dead man’s identity, has vehemently protested the investigation, saying Malaysia is in cahoots with its enemies. In response, Malaysia has cancelled a rare visa-free travel deal with North Korea — a key conduit to the outside world — and recalled its envoy to Pyongyang, putting the skids under once cozy ties.