North Korea announced today that it is severing ties with Malaysia after the high court ruled that a man charged with money laundering be extradited to the United States.
North Korea’s Foreign Affairs ministry responded to last week’s court ruling today, in a statement that described the court’s decision as “super-large hostile” while suggesting that Malaysia was bowing to American pressure.
“With regard to the grave situation that has prevailed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) hereby announces total severance of the diplomatic relations with Malaysia which committed [a] super-large hostile act against the DPRK in subservience to the US pressure,” the statement said. It did not name the accused in its statement but labeled Mun Chol Myong, 55, as “innocent.”
Mun last week lost his final appeal to remain in Malaysia, where he had been living on and off since 2009. The businessman, who had also worked for a now-defunct Singaporean firm, was arrested in 2019 for money laundering through front companies and issuing shady documents for illicit shipments to North Korea.
Mun had been denying those accusations and at one point claimed there was political motivation behind his arrest, although he failed to prove this in court.
Bilateral relations between North Korea and Malaysia can be traced back to the ‘70s. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un even obtained an honorary doctorate at Malaysia’s Help University in 2013.
The relationship grew tense following the alleged assassination of Kim’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam in 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur airport. Malaysia closed the North Korean embassy in the same year after it successfully brought back nine citizens who were held in Pyongyang in exchange for Kim Jong-nam’s body to North Korea.
The relationship somewhat improved when Mahathir Mohamad became prime minister in 2018 and later praised Kim’s leadership qualities and re-opened the North Korean embassy here.
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This article, North Korea is cutting ties with Malaysia over court’s decision to extradite man to U.S, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.