KUALA LUMPUR – North Korea has retaliated and declared the Malaysian ambassador to the country persona non grata (PNG) and demanded the envoy leave within 48 hours from 10am on Sunday.
However, the Malaysian ambassador to North Korea, Mohamad Nizan Mohamad, was recalled to Kuala Lumpur for consultation and had arrived at the KL International Airport on Feb 22.
In an immediate response, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that the Malaysian ambassador to Pyongyang had been asked to leave the country.
“Yes it is true that our ambassador has been declared PNG. This reciprocal action is normal in diplomacy. It should be noted that the Malaysian ambassador has been recalled by the government. He is presently in Malaysia and has been in Malaysia for sometime now,” the ministry’s deputy secretary-general (Bilateral Affairs) Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin said today.
Meanwhile, the ambassador of North Korea to Malaysia Kang Chol has expressed concern over “extreme measures taken by the Malaysian government” to harm bilateral relations between the two nations that date back almost 40 years.
“I express grave concern over the extreme measures taken by the Malaysian government, doing great harm to bilateral relations,” he said at KL International Airport today as he prepared to leave the country.
He said he had been declared a persona non grata by the Malaysian government based on statements he had made with regard to its handling of the Kim Jong-Nam murder.
“The statements I’ve made were an expression of the righteous stand as the ambassador of North Korea to this country on the pre-targeted investigation by the Malaysian police,” he said.
“They have conducted an autopsy without the attendance of any North Korean official and also arrested a North Korean citizen without any clear evidence showing his involvement in the incident.”
Kang Chol caught a 6.25pm flight to Beijing with his wife and a five-year-old child, just beyond his 6pm deadline to leave the country as stipulated by the Malaysian government.
Details about his flight back to Pyongyang from Beijing are unknown.
On March 4, Wisma Putra issued a statement declaring Kang Chol persona non grata and gave him 48 hours to leave the country.
This came after he failed to turn up at Wisma Putra on March 4 despite being summoned to do so. – Bernama/The Sun