PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian government's decision to expel the North Korean ambassador and declaring him 'persona non grata' will do great harm to both countries’ bilateral relations of 40 years.
This was the assessment of envoy Kang Chol himself, who spoke briefly to the media at Kuala Lumpur International Airport today about his expulsion from the country.
"I'm leaving the country today as the Malaysian government has declared me 'persona non grata' for what I said during a press conference on Feb 17.
"I express grave concern about the extreme measures taken by the Malaysian government, (which is) doing harm to bilateral relations, which has a history of 40 years," he said.
Kang said the statement he made previously was an expression of his righteous stand as the North Korean ambassador to this country on the “pre-targeted” investigation by the Malaysian police.
"The police have conducted an autopsy without the consent and attendance of North Korean embassy (representatives), and later arrested a citizen without any clear evidence showing his involvement in the incident," he said.
Kang, his wife and granddaughter will board MAS flight MH360 to Beijing at 6.25pm, en route to Pyongyang.
On Feb 17, Kang said Malaysia conducted an autopsy on the North Korean leader’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, "unilaterally and excluding our attendance."
"We will categorically reject the result of the post-mortem, and the move disregarded "elementary international laws and consular laws," he said.
Kang had also suggested that Malaysia was trying to "conceal something" and was colluding with hostile forces against North Korea.
Last Saturday, Malaysia declared Kang 'persona non grata' and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the ambassador had failed to meet with the Ministry's Bilateral Affairs deputy secretary-general, Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin, on Saturday.
In diplomacy, a ‘persona non grata’ – literally meaning "an unwelcome person" – is a foreigner who is prohibited from entering or remaining in a particular country by that country's government.