Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Malaysia may expel North Korean envoy over airport killing comments

Malaysia is considering expelling North Korea’s envoy to the Southeast Asian nation or shutting its embassy in Pyongyang, as tensions escalate over the killing of the estranged half-brother of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, a senior government official said. North Korea’s ambassador said last week his country “cannot trust” Malaysia’s handling of the probe, and also accused the country of “colluding with outside forces” – a veiled reference to bitter rival South Korea. A senior Malaysian government official who is familiar with the discussions said Ambassador Kang Chol’s comments have angered Malaysia and it was preparing a response, which could including declaring the ambassador “persona non grata”. Such a move would be the strongest response Malaysia could take against a foreign diplomat, and would mean Kang Chol would have to leave the country. The source said Malaysia was also considering other options. The country, which has until now been one of the few nations to maintain friendly ties with the isolated North, could close its embassy in Pyongyang, or end visa-free travel for North Koreans entering Malaysia. If the criticism from North Korea did not stop, all diplomatic and trade ties could be cut, the source added. The Malaysian foreign ministry did not answer phone calls seeking comment. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said earlier his week that the ambassador’s comments casting doubt over Malaysia’s investigation were “diplomatically rude”. Attempts by Reuters to contact the North Korean embassy by phone were unsuccessful, and reporters were not allowed to enter the embassy to seek comment.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-malaysia-kim-expel-idUSKBN1620QD?il=0

Newsline: Murder suspects believed to be hiding in North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur

The two North Korean suspects wanted in connection with the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, are believed to be hiding out in the country’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian police believe that Hyon Kwang-song, a senior North Korean diplomat attached to the embassy in Malaysia and another suspect, Kim Uk-il, are seeking shelter at the embassy. Kim Jong Nam, 46, was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13 with what police believe was a fast-acting poison, as he prepared to board a flight to Macau where he lived in exile with his family under the protection of Beijing.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/a50bbe1c-60f0-3aa4-ac1e-928b1867dddb/kim-jong-nam%3A-2-suspects.html

Newsline: Malaysia names North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning

Malaysian police on Wednesday named a senior official in North Korea’s embassy and a staffer at its state airline, who are wanted for questioning over the murder last week of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader. Kim Jong Nam, 46, was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13, while preparing to board a flight to Macau, where he lived in exile with his family under the protection of Beijing. South Korean and U.S. officials believe the killing of the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was an assassination carried out by agents of the North. Kim Jong Nam had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed state. Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar named the North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning as 44-year-old Hyon Kwang Song, and said he held the rank of second secretary at the embassy. The police chief identified the Air Koryo staffer as Kim Uk Il, 37. He said both were in Malaysia, but gave no further details. “They’ve been called in for assistance. We hope the embassy will cooperate with us and allow us to interview them quickly or else we will compel them to come to us,” Khalid told reporters at a news conference. Calls on Wednesday to the North Korean embassy for comment on the latest developments went unanswered. Malaysia has so far identified a total of eight North Koreans suspected of being linked to killing. One, Ri Jong Chol, is in custody, and another, Ri Ji U, remains at large. Khalid said police “strongly believed” four others were back in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, having fled Malaysia on the day of the attack. Diplomatic tensions have escalated between North Korea and Malaysia since the killing, with the countries trading barbs over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation. North Korea Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world that maintains ties with the nuclear-armed nation. Earlier this week Malaysia recalled its ambassador from Pyongyang, and Prime Minister Najib Razak rebuked the North Korea ambassador in Kuala Lumpur for making “diplomatically rude” comments.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-malaysia-kim-idUSKBN1610AM

Newsline: North Korean embassy accuses Malaysia of infringing international rights

The North Korean embassy in Malaysia today fired off a salvo at Malaysian authorities, accusing the country of infringing international rights and taking sides with South Korea. The embassy’s statement came after Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had rejected demands by North Korea for a joint investigation into the assassination of Kim Kim Jong-nam, and demanded the embassy hand over two new suspects. The embassy’s statement was distributed to the media outside its embassy in Kuala Lumpur. It also accused Malaysia of performing an “illegal act of infringing international laws, customs and diplomatic privileges and at the same time, a clear evidence that Malaysia takes sides with South Korean allegations.” A similar allegation was made by the North Korean ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol, recently. Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had on Monday dismissed the claims.

http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/02/214551/jong-nam-murder-n-korean-embassy-accuses-malaysia-infringing-international

Newsline: Russian Embassy employee flees Kyrgyzstan after road accident

The first secretary of Russian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan Viktor Pukhov, who was involved in the road accident resulting in the death of a Kyrgyz citizen, fled Kyrgyzstan, an Embassy representative told AKIpress. The collision involving Toyota Prado car with diplomatic license plate D04061 and a Mercedes Sprinter was reported at 4 pm Bishkek time on February 16. Both of the drivers were hospitalized, one of them died. The doctors declared the 61-year-old driver of Mercedes Sprinter dead on February 17. Later, footage obtained by authorities showed the driver of diplomatic car run the red light and crashed into the Mercedes Sprinter.

http://akipress.com/news:589242/

Newsline: North Korean envoy’s remarks seen as insult to Malaysia

North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol, who has been summoned by Wisma Putra, made another allegation that Malaysia and South Korea were colluding with a political motive. Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said in a press statement that the allegation was “a serious insult” to Malaysia as investigation into the murder of Kim Jong-nam had been carried out in accordance with the law in Malaysia. Anifah said Kang Chol’s press statement carried several allegations. These allegations were “culled from delusions, lies and half-truths” from which the ambassador concluded that “there could be someone else’s hand behind the investigation”, and that the “investigation by the Malaysian police is not for the clarification of the cause of the death and search of the suspect, but it is out of the political aim”. “When Foreign Affairs Ministrry summoned Kang, the Deputy Secretary-General for Bilateral Affairs emphasized that the police investigation had been done impartially without fear or favor. It was also conducted in compliance with Malaysian laws and regulations. Any allegation to the contrary is deeply insulting to Malaysia as the suggestion is that the Malaysian Government is colluding with a foreign government. Foreign Ministry summoned Kang for accusing the Malaysian government of “concealing information” after Kim Jong-nam’s death. Malaysia would be recalling its envoy in Pyongyang, Mohamad Nizam Mohamad to return home for consultation. Kang Chol, in an impromptu press conference held outside the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, accused Malaysia for a second time.

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/117010

Newsline: Mexican consulates become welcome ally for anxious immigrants in US

First came the anxious calls in the days after the election of President Donald Trump. Now, people begin lining up before 8am and crowd the waiting rooms inside the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles. Mexican citizens come to renew passports that have been unused for more than a decade. They desperately ask lawyers if they can do anything to help them stay in the United States. They register their children for Mexican citizenship, just in case they are sent back and decide to move their whole family with them. When the consulate began to get reports of dozens of Mexicans being arrested by immigration officials last week, they immediately dispatched lawyers to the federal detention centre downtown. These are demanding times for the 50 Mexican consulates scattered throughout the United States. With Trump’s promise to crack down on immigrants living in the United States illegally and an executive order that vastly expands who is considered a priority for deportation, Mexicans living in the United States illegally are increasingly on edge. And consulates are moving quickly to help. As official representatives of the Mexican government in the United States, the consulates can provide legal guidance and resources for people and families dealing with immigration issues. Mexicans make up about half of the country’s 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. The relationship between Mexico and the United States is at its lowest point in years. Mexican officials say they are eager to keep families living in the United States together. There are economic concerns too: Mexicans living abroad send more than $25 billion back home, with most of the money coming from the United States, according to Mexico’s central bank.

http://gulfnews.com/news/americas/usa/mexican-consulates-become-welcome-ally-for-anxious-immigrants-1.1980392