From travel bans to the expulsion of ambassadors, relations between Malaysia and North Korea are being tested by the murder of a man believed to be the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader. The countries established diplomatic ties in 1973, with Malaysia becoming the first nation to have visa-free entry to North Korea. But Malaysia’s probe into Kim Jong-nam’s death at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport last month has riled North Korea.
The North Korean government has openly criticised the investigation, disputing the cause of death as nerve gas and whether the man killed was in fact Kim Jong-nam. Pyongyang has since called for a joint effort to find out what happened. Until then, Pyongyang is prohibiting the nine Malaysians living in North Korea from leaving the country, while Kuala Lumpur is doing the same with the hundreds of North Koreans in Malaysia.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak initially accused the North Korean government of holding his citizens “hostage”, but in an attempt to ease concerns, he has since vowed the countries will come to a resolution. On Monday, they began to discuss the return of Malaysians from North Korea.
The Stream looks at the impact recent events could have on relations and what needs to be done to move forward.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Andray Abrahamian @Draylien
Research fellow, Macquarie University
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