Malaysian woman in North Korea unaware of temporary ban

A general view of Sunan Pyongyang International Airport.
A general view of Sunan Pyongyang International Airport.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) - A Malaysian woman residing in Pyongyang was unaware about the temporary ban on Malaysians leaving North Korea.

"We did not receive any news about the ban," was her response when contacted by Bernama from Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (March 7).

She declined to disclose her identity and said that she had no idea about the ban imposed by Pyongyang.

Pyongyang on Tuesday announced the temporary ban on Malaysians leaving North Korea. Kuala Lumpur reacted by temporarily prohibiting North Korean citizens including embassy staff from leaving Malaysia. Pyongyang has said the ban would be in place until the current "tension" is resolved.

Earlier, Malaysia's Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said 11 Malaysians in Pyongyang were safe.

North Korea's Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol was declared persona non grata by the Malaysian Government on Saturday and was given 48 hours to leave the country after he criticised Malaysia's handling of the investigation into the murder of North Korean citizen Kim Jong Nam. Mr Kang left Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

In a tit-for-tat move, Pyongyang expelled Malaysian Ambassador to North Korea Mohamad Nizan Mohamad on Monday and gave him the same 48-hour ultimatum. The ambassador, however, had already been recalled to Malaysia last month.

 

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Mr Kang had claimed that Kuala Lumpur was colluding with "hostile" nations against North Korea, questioned the police's investigation into the murder probe of Mr Kim, who had been travelling under the name of Kim Chol, and claimed the investigation could not be trusted.

Mr Kim, the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was murdered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Feb 13.

It was reported that Mr Kim Jong Nam was waiting for his flight to Macau at KLIA2 when two women suddenly wiped his face with a liquid later identified as the VX nerve agent.

Mr Kim Jong Nam reportedly sought help at a customer service counter at the airport and was rushed to Putrajaya Hospital, but died on the way.