Malaysia expels North Korean ambassador after Kim murder

By Reuters, AFP   March 4, 2017 | 07:08 am PT
Malaysia expels North Korean ambassador after Kim murder
North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol speaks during a news conference at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 20, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
The envoy has been asked to leave Malaysia within 48 hours.

Malaysia on Saturday expelled the North Korean ambassador to the country, declaring him "persona non grata" and asking the envoy to leave Malaysia within 48 hours.

The move comes nearly three weeks after the murder of a man believed to be Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur's airport with a toxic nerve agent.

U.S. and South Korean officials have said he was killed by agents of the North Korean regime.

North Korea, which has not acknowledged the dead man's identity, has vehemently protested the investigation.

Kang Chol, North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia, said last month his country "cannot trust" Malaysia's handling of the probe, and also accused the country of "colluding with outside forces" in a veiled reference to bitter rival South Korea.

Malaysian foreign minister Anifah Haji Aman said in a statement on Saturday that Malaysia had demanded an apology from the ambassador for his comments, but none was forthcoming.

"Malaysia will react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation," Anifah said.

Malaysia has also 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.

Related news:

Malaysia to charge women with airport murder of Kim Jong Nam

Vietnamese consular officials advise family of Kim murder suspect

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