Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for February 22, 2017

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.



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.


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.