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North Korea Accused By Malaysia Of Holding Citizens Captive

By March 8, 2017 at 7:43 am
Malaysia accuses North Korea of holding its citizens captive (Photo : Rahman Roslan/Getty Images)

North Korea is being accused by Malaysia as holding 11 of its citizens captive. This comes in the midst of the rising tension between the two countries after Kim Jong-nam's death last month.

Recently, North Korean ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol, was declared as a persona non grata by the Southeast Asian country. Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman announced that the ambassador had failed to meet with the Ministry's Bilateral Affairs deputy secretary general Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin.

Malaysia has also confirmed that visitors from North Korea to Malaysia will soon be required to apply for visas. The requirement started last Mar. 6.

Now, it has been found that the North Korean government will not allow Malaysian nationals in the country to leave. This is until Kuala Lumpur has guaranteed the safety of its diplomats and citizens in the Southeast Asian country.

It is believed that there are 11 Malaysians in North Korea. This includes four embassy staff members and their families as well as two UN employees.

"This abhorrent act, effectively holding our citizens hostage, is in total disregard of all international law and diplomatic norms," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said. Malaysia has also barred the departure of North Korean citizens until they are assured that the Malaysian citizens are safe and secure.

Malaysian police officials added that three North Koreans are hiding in the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. They are wanted for questioning in the death of Kim Jong-nam.

The suspects include the embassy's second secretary Hyon Kwang Song and Kim Uk Il, a staff member at North Korean national carrier Air Koryo. Another North Korean, Ri Ji U, is also believed to be hiding in the embassy.

South Korean and U.S. officials believed that Kim Jong-Nam, who had spoken up against his family's dictatorship of North Korea, had been assassinated by agents of the reclusive country. Malaysian police have already identified eight North Koreans as wanted for questioning.

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