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March 19, 2021

North Korea Cuts Ties With Malaysia

 North Korea has severed diplomatic ties with Malaysia after being outraged by the Federal Court's decision to extradite the country's citizens to the United States (US) on money laundering charges.

Last March, the Federal Court ruled to extradite Korean national Mun Chol-myong.

Chol-myong was arrested in 2019 after the U.S. alleged the man committed money laundering through an undercover company and issued false documents to supply illicit goods to North Korea.

The man made an appeal against the allegations on the grounds that his detention had political elements but was rejected.

According to a statement issued by the North Korean Foreign Ministry, Malaysia's actions are an unforgivable form of heinous crime.

"Malaysia's actions have affected the entire foundation of bilateral relations based on respect for sovereignty," the statement said.

North Korea has often made Malaysia a hub for its arms export operations and set up its business entities to channel funds to Pyongyang’s leadership.

Relations between Malaysia and North Korea began to strain after the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-nam, was killed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in February 2017 by two women.

Malaysia had to suspend its embassy operations in Pyongyang after taking back nine Malaysians who were 'taken hostage' by North Korea in exchange for Jong-nam's body.

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry, however, has not yet issued any statement on this issue.