Malaysian Cabinet expected to review trade with North Korea

Malaysian police cordon off the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur on March 7, 2017.
Malaysian police cordon off the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur on March 7, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian Cabinet is expected to review the country's trade with North Korea after both countries implemented travel bans.

International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said trade with North Korea is expected to be discussed at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Friday (March 10).

Ministers will then decide whether or not the country will continue engaging North Korea in businesses.

"At this moment, trade is still as it is unless Cabinet makes a decision. This is a very new development but we will have to make a decision on the issue," he told The Star when met in Cyberjaya on Tuesday.

Malaysia and North Korea, up until a few weeks ago, enjoyed a robust relationship.

Trade with North Korea is mostly palm-oil related, said the ministry.

Last year, trade with North Korea was about RM18 million (S$5.7 million) while Malaysia traded RM22 million in 2015.

Last week, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said despite tensions between the two countries, Malaysia would not impose any trade embargo on the hermit kingdom, nor would it prevent private companies based here from doing business with North Korea.

Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysian private companies trading with North Korea would have to do it at their own risk.

"If private companies see they can make money by doing business with them, they have to assess the risks themselves ... we won't tell them you cannot trade with them," Mustapa said.


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