North Korea on Tuesday banned Malaysians returning home, further aggravating the dispute between the two countries after the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the North Korean dictator, Korean Kim Jong-un.
Kuala Lumpur was quick to respond by forbidding, inevitably, the North Koreans who are in Malaysia to leave.
An Indian political scientist explained that North Korea’s decision is “completely foreign to current diplomatic practices.” Lalit Mansingh said he did not remember any recent memory event, when so many ordinary citizens found themselves caught in a diplomatic quarrel.
Many believe that the assassination of Kim Jong-nam was orchestrated by the North, but Malaysia has never directly accused Pyongyang. North Korea nevertheless declared that the Malaysian investigation was botched, in addition to condemning the Malaysian autopsy which concluded that Kim Jong-nam was killed by the neurotoxic agent VX.
The official North Korean news agency said on Tuesday that Malaysians will no longer be able to return home “as long as the security of diplomats and citizens (North Koreans) in Malaysia has not been fully guaranteed by a regulation Fairness of the case that occurred in Malaysia “.
“This is the North Korean way of acting – dramatic acts of intimidation, then they wait for the other side to ask for concessions,” said Australian political scientist Leszek Buszynski, who is very interested in The North Korean diplomacy.
Malaysia is looking for seven North Koreans in connection with the death of Kim Jong-nam: four who left on the day of the bombing on 13 February and three who are probably buried at the North Korean Embassy.
“We will not attack the embassy,” said Malaysian National Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar. We will wait (…) five years if necessary, outside. Someone will definitely come out. ”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak quickly denounced the North Korean announcement and warned that the North Koreans will have to stay in Malaysia.
“It is an abominable gesture to actually take our citizens hostage, which totally contravenes international law and diplomatic standards,” he said in a statement. I also asked the police to forbid all North Korean citizens who are in Malaysia from leaving the country until we are assured of the safety of all Malaysians in North Korea. ”
Malaysian police have now completed access to the North Korean Embassy.
Eleven Malaysians are reported to be in North Korea, including two UN employees, and about a thousand North Koreans in Malaysia.