Malaysia stops imports from North Korea, closes embassy in Pyongyang

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Relations between former friends Malaysia and North Korea hit rock bottom in the wake of the alleged assassination of Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother at Kuala Lumpur international airport in February this year, and as tensions in East Asia over a possible armed conflict involving North Korea are rising.

Malaysia has halted all imports from North Korea as part of global efforts to cut off funding over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes led by the US. The country did not buy any goods from North Korea in June and July, after importing $4.89 million worth of goods in the first five months of the year, mainly coal and other mining products, machinery and textiles, according to data from the Department of Statistics.

Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman on October 12 also said that Malaysia has no plans to have an ambassador in Pyongyang after it recalled him earlier this year. Anifah noted that he may ask Malaysia’s Beijing embassy to handle issues pertaining to diplomatic ties with North Korea instead.

Kuala Lumpur last month also banned its citizens from travelling to North Korea and is expected to tighten visa rules for citizen from North Korea.  Malaysians were one of the few nationalities that were allowed to enter North Korea visa-free, and vice-versa.

Malaysia had been a key source of revenue for the North as it was host to hundreds of overseas workers. More importantly were clandestine operations and opaque companies that funneled money to the regime in Pyongyang.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Relations between former friends Malaysia and North Korea hit rock bottom in the wake of the alleged assassination of Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother at Kuala Lumpur international airport in February this year, and as tensions in East Asia over a possible armed conflict involving North Korea are rising.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Relations between former friends Malaysia and North Korea hit rock bottom in the wake of the alleged assassination of Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother at Kuala Lumpur international airport in February this year, and as tensions in East Asia over a possible armed conflict involving North Korea are rising.

Malaysia has halted all imports from North Korea as part of global efforts to cut off funding over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes led by the US. The country did not buy any goods from North Korea in June and July, after importing $4.89 million worth of goods in the first five months of the year, mainly coal and other mining products, machinery and textiles, according to data from the Department of Statistics.

Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman on October 12 also said that Malaysia has no plans to have an ambassador in Pyongyang after it recalled him earlier this year. Anifah noted that he may ask Malaysia’s Beijing embassy to handle issues pertaining to diplomatic ties with North Korea instead.

Kuala Lumpur last month also banned its citizens from travelling to North Korea and is expected to tighten visa rules for citizen from North Korea.  Malaysians were one of the few nationalities that were allowed to enter North Korea visa-free, and vice-versa.

Malaysia had been a key source of revenue for the North as it was host to hundreds of overseas workers. More importantly were clandestine operations and opaque companies that funneled money to the regime in Pyongyang.

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