Archive for Malaysia
Malaysia will maintain diplomatic ties with North Korea and will not close its embassy in Pyongyang, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. He said Malaysia also hoped that Pyongyang would do likewise. “We have no desire to sever diplomatic ties with North Korea and we hope North Korea will do the same,” he said. Ahmad Zahid, who is also Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) chairman, told this to reporters after attending MCPF’s 24th annual-general meeting here today. The diplomatic tensions between Malaysia and North Korea in the last two months eased somewhat when nine Malaysians who were barred from leaving North Korea following the diplomatic row between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang, arrived safely home on Friday. The tension between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang was triggered following the killing of Kim Jong-nam, 46, the elder brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) here on Feb 13. Ahmad Zahid also explained that Malaysia did not made any trade-offs in saving the nine Malaysians in Pyongyang but it was based on the understanding achieved by both countries.
Three North Koreans who spent weeks hiding in the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur have left Malaysia, police said Friday. The trio had been wanted for questioning in connection with the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. Kim Jong Nam was murdered February 13 when two women wiped his face with the highly toxic VX nerve agent at an airport in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia blamed North Korea for his death, but Pyongyang has strongly denied any involvement. On Friday, Royal Malaysia Police Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters police took statements from the three men at the North Korean embassy before their departure. Though Bakar would not name the three that were interviewed, it was previously revealed that Hyon Kwang Song, a second secretary at the embassy, and Kim Uk Il, an employee of North Korea’s national airline, were both hiding at the embassy.Ri Ji U, a 30-year-old North Korean whose employment was not disclosed by Malaysian police, was believed to be the third individual holed up there, a Malaysian government official told CNN. Bakar said the men’s freedom was not tied to an agreement which secured the release of nine Malaysians in Pyongyang and sent Kim Jong Nam’s body back to North Korea. When asked if they were cleared of wrongdoing, Bakar only stated the men were no longer needed for the investigation, which is ongoing. They had been wanted for questioning after being seen on security camera footage at the airport on the day of Kim’s death, he said.
Malaysian police on Sunday entered the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur in connection with last month’s murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, according to China Press, a Malaysian Chinese-language newspaper. Four police officers, including the investigating officer of the murder, the Selangor state police chief and Selangor prosecution team officer, entered the embassy in the morning and were there for two and a half hours, the China Press said, adding they were granted permission by the embassy to enter. The entry indicates that a preliminary agreement may have been reached on processing the body of Kim Jong-nam, and on the recording of statements of three suspected accomplices in the murder believed to be hiding in the embassy, according to the report. One of the three is Hyon Kwang-song, 44, the second secretary of the embassy. Malaysian officials indicated that talks with North Korea on thorny affairs plaguing bilateral relations following murder could wrap up “very soon.” The remarks follow reports Saturday that former North Korean ambassador to the United Nations Ri Tong-il has returned to the Malaysian capital.
A North Korean suspect in the killing of Kim Jong-nam is reportedly the son of a former top North Korean envoy to Vietnam, and he allegedly lured a Vietnamese female suspect to join the plot to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader. Ri Ji Hyon, 33, is the son of former North Korean ambassador to Hanoi, Ri Hong, and had lived in Vietnam for about 10 years, Yonhap news agency quoted sources as saying on Wednesday. Ji Hyon worked as a trainee diplomat at the North Korean embassy for more than one year and he also worked as an interpreter, according to the sources. Using his fluent Vietnamese, he lured Doan Thi Huong into the plot to kill Jong-nam while the latter was waiting to board a flight to Macau at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Feb 13, according to Yonhap. The Vietnamese woman and Indonesian Siti Aisyah allegedly smeared banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on Jong-nam’s face. They have been charged with murder but they claim they were told that the act was a prank on a reality show. Ji Hyon is among four North Korean suspects who left Malaysia on the day Jong-nam was murdered and they are believed to have returned to Pyongyang. Interpol has issued a red notice to track down and arrest them.
Scenes of local and foreign pressmen waiting outside the North Korean embassy to catch embassy officials for comments related to the murder of Kim Jong-nam is slowly diminishing. Pressmen feel there is no reason to wait outside the embassy because none of the embassy staff or its spokesman Ri Tong-il had issued any statements or talked to the media since Feb 18.
The North Korean Embassy counsellor in Malaysia Kim Yu Song asked the media not to take pictures of him putting bins in front of the embassy. Yu Song, who speaks Malay fluently, said the media should ask permission in advance if they wanted to take pictures of him. “This is not good news. No need to publish them in the newspapers, understand? Don’t … don’t take. ‘If we agree on you taking our pictures, you must ask me, okay?” he told the media in front of the embassy here. Bernama photographer Zulfadhli Zulkarnain who was on duty when queried by Yu Song explained to him that they were just doing their job. Some local and International media practitioners who gathered in front the embassy did not miss the chance to take pictures of Yu Song together with two men carrying out a sofa to be disposed in front of the premises. The North Korean Embassy located in Bukit Damansara has become the focus of the media since the murder of Kim Jong Nam last month. Kuala Lumpur-Pyongyang relations were strained following the murder of Jong Nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.
A North Korean diplomat says the killing of a man confirmed by Malaysian police to be the half brother of North Korea’s leader was a political conspiracy engineered by Washington and Seoul. Pak Myong Ho, a minister at North Korea’s embassy in Beijing, said Thursday the killing in Malaysia last month was a “despicable and extremely dangerous” plot by the U.S. and South Korea aimed at smearing North Korea’s image and subverting its regime. Pak said “indiscriminate claims of behind-the-scenes manipulation” would fail, referring to allegations by South Korea’s spy agency that North Korea masterminded the assassination. North Korea has demanded that Malaysia hand over the body and objected when it conducted an autopsy. It also has refused to acknowledge that the victim was the half brother of its leader.