KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Malaysia may end diplomatic relations with North Korea over its continued military aggression, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.
He said the position was adopted after consulting with US President Donald Trump during Najib’s visit in September, and following the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, here.
“I have stated that Malaysia has taken all steps to abide by all United Nation resolutions relating to the North Korean threat, including the reduction of Korean diplomatic officers in Malaysia.
“We are considering our bonds with North Korea including cutting political and economic relations. Malaysia is considering closing our embassy in Pyongyang and moving it to Beijing,” Najib said today in Parliament.
He reiterated that Malaysia discontinued the visa-free arrangement with North Korea following the diplomatic row over Jong-nam’s murder.
The Pekan MP said Malaysia was concerned about North Korea’s continued military belligerence as well as its nuclear testing in the region, adding that these were shared by other countries such as the US.
“On the Korean Peninsula, both nations have raised concerns over the peace and security of the Asia Pacific region that is threatened by the nuclear and ballistic missile testing going on in North Korea,” Najib said.
Aside from the souring diplomatic ties, Malaysia recently prohibited its citizens from travelling to Pyongyang due to fears of military action in the country.
North Korea continues to goad its neighbours and the US with threats of missile launches and nuclear weapons test, triggering concerns of possible military conflict as well as a proxy war in the area.
US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis warned North Korea last week of a “massive military response” to any use of nuclear weapons, ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea.
Pyongyang recently conducted its sixth nuclear weapons test and fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan, the most aggressive it has been to its perceived enemies in recent times.