Malaysia says it has expelled the North Korean ambassador over the death of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the North Korea’s leader. Kang Chol must leave Malaysia within 48 hours, the foreign ministry says.
The move comes after the envoy said his country “could not trust” Malaysia’s handling of the investigation. Mr Kang, who has become a fierce critic of his host country, said the probe into the killing had become “politicised” and was being interfered with.
Malaysia has not directly blamed North Korea for the attack, but there is suspicion Pyongyang was responsible.
The Malaysian Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman, declared the ambassador “persona non grata”, and said his country had demanded an apology for the comments, but none was forthcoming. “Malaysia will react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation,” Mr Anifah said in a statement.
The decision also follows reports suggesting that North Korean intelligence agencies used shell companies in Malaysia to cover an illicit arms sales operation.
Malaysia was one of very few countries that had relatively friendly relations with North Korea. It had already recalled its ambassador in Pyongyang as it investigated the case.