North Korea breaks off diplomatic relations with Malaysia. Malaysia’s actions have destroyed the “basis of bilateral relations based on respect for sovereignty,” said a statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry. In view of the serious situation, “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea announced the complete break of relations.”
What happened? The highest court in Malaysia had ruled last week that a North Korean businessman living in the Southeast Asian country could be extradited to the US, who accused him of banned exporting luxury items to North Korea and money laundering.
“Main culprits for this incident”
North Korea accused the Malaysian government of having committed a “shameful act and an unforgivable serious crime.” The North Korean concerned was innocent, it said in the statement published by the state media. At the same time, the State Department threatened the US to pay a “price due” for it. The US is the mastermind and the “main culprit for this incident.”
North Korea is subject to harsh international sanctions because of its nuclear weapons program. Relations between Malaysia and North Korea have been heavily strained since 2017. In February four years ago, the half-brother of the North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Nam, was fatally poisoned at the airport in Kuala Lumpur. It was suspected that North Korea’s secret service was behind the attack.
The agent VX, a neurotoxin, was found on Kim Jong Nam’s corpse. A Vietnamese woman was later sentenced together with an Indonesian woman. They smeared VX on Kim Jong Nam at the airport. Both women always asserted that they had been brought to the action with a ruse by North Korean spies. They would have thought it was a joke for a television show.