North Korea bans Malaysians from leaving country; Malaysia responds

The crisis between North Korea and Malaysia continues as Pyongyang banned all Malaysians from leaving North Korea. In response, Malaysian police officers sealed off North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Kim Jong-un (top picture), Kim Jong-Nam (lower picture) and North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

While the investigation into the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, continues in Malaysia, the tensions between Pyongyang and Kuala Lumpur have escalated. Early this morning (Tuesday), the government in Pyongyang announced that Malaysian citizens will only be allowed to leave North Korea when the investigation is completed. Shortly thereafter, the Malaysian government responded by sealing off North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, preventing North Korean diplomats from leaving the building.

According to the Malaysian government, it is suspected that a few suspects in the murder case are hiding in the building. Senior level Malaysian officials stated that when Pyongyang lifts the travel ban on Malaysians who want to leave North Korea, the embassy building will be reopened.

“We are working to identify all the embassy employees who remain in the building,” the Malaysian deputy interior minister explained. The deputy minister added that the embassy employees will only be allowed to leave the building when all of the people inside have been identified.

The Malaysian prime minister condemned North Korea’s actions and said that the government in Pyongyang “is holding Malaysian citizens hostage.” In addition, the Malaysian prime minister called on North Korea to prevent the crisis from escalating any further.

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