Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: North Korean embassy denies getting Malaysian police request for suspects

The North Korean embassy claims it has not received any official request from the police or the foreign affairs ministry to question two of its citizens – including a diplomat – over the killing of Kim Jong Nam. An embassy official, Kim Yu Song told reporters today that on Wednesday, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar informed the media that police sought the embassy’s assistance to get the statements of second secretary, Hyon Kwang Song and an Air Koryo employee, named Kim Uk Il. But Yu Song said to date, it has not received any official request on the matter. “We also condemn a report by a South Korean media outlet that we had already received such a request yesterday. “I have stated in Korean that we had not received such a request yesterday but they reported the opposite,” he told reporters waiting outside the embassy. Before this, Khalid said the police were looking to question Kwang Song and Uk Il over Jong Nam’s killing.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/02/24/north-korean-embassy-deny-getting-police-request-for-suspects/

Newsline: China’s embassy pledges to protect Chinese trainees in Japan

The Chinese Embassy in Japan said it will continue to take strong measures to protect the legitimate rights of Chinese nationals working in Japan under the Japanese government-sponsored Technical Intern Training Program for foreigners. “The Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in Japan attach great importance to protecting Chinese technical trainees in Japan, and have carried out consular protection and assistance work through various channels and means,” the embassy told Xinhua. According to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, there were about 85,000 Chinese trainees in Japan last year under the program. Tokyo introduced the intern program in 1993. It claims the program is designed to bring in interns from developing countries and help them acquire technical skills they can bring back to their homelands to contribute to local economic development. Yet the system has been widely criticized as a platform to attract cheap labor from overseas to compensate for Japan’s manpower shortage without due measures to protect the rights of foreign workers. The Chinese embassy said it will increase contacts with related Japanese ministries to urge the Japanese side to take measures to protect the legal rights of Chinese interns.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-02/24/c_136082035.htm

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/