M'sia will not tolerate attempts to interfere in its judiciary, says Wisma Putra following expulsion of N. Korean diplomats

PETALING JAYA: Following the departure of North Korean diplomats from Malaysia, Wisma Putra declares that Malaysia will never compromise with any attempts to interfere in the country's internal affairs and the judiciary.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the recent expulsion of all North Korean diplomats in the country should serve as a reminder that Malaysia will never tolerate attempts to undermine the government.

"The action by the Malaysian government was a necessity in order to protect Malaysia's sovereignty and safeguard our national interests.

"This action is a reminder that Malaysia shall never tolerate any attempts to meddle in our internal affairs and judiciary, disrespect our system of governance, and constantly create unnecessary tensions in defiance of the rule-based international order," said Hishammuddin.

In a statement Sunday (March 21), Hishammuddin said the expulsion of all North Korean diplomats from its embassy in Kuala Lumpur was conducted according to a decision made by the Malaysian government on March 19.

Hishammuddin said the expulsion was carried out in conformity with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.

"The Government of Malaysia has to resort to taking this action in response to the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) decision on March 19 to unilaterally and utterly irresponsibly sever diplomatic ties with Malaysia."

The staff of the North Korean embassy vacated its premises at around 11am on Sunday (March 21).

North Korea's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Malaysia came after a Kuala Lumpur court ruled for the extradition of one of its citizens, Mun Chol-myong, to the United States to face money laundering charges.

Wisma Putra had previously described North Korea's decision to sever ties as "unfriendly and unconstructive" and that it was against "the spirit of mutual respect and good neighbourly relations among members of the international community".

Mun was arrested in 2019 after the United States accused him of laundering funds through front companies and issuing fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to North Korea.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry had also labelled the extradition a "nefarious act and unpardonably heavy crime" by the Malaysian authorities, who had "offered our citizen as a sacrifice of the US hostile move in defiance of the acknowledged international laws".

Previously, Malaysia and North Korea were embroiled in a diplomatic row after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's estranged brother Kim Jong-nam was killed at the KLIA in 2017.

The incident happened when two foreign women had smeared his face with a VX nerve agent which was also listed as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

Following the assassination of Jong-un, Malaysia suspended operations at its embassy in Pyongyang after securing the return of nine citizens detained within the embassy compound, in exchange for the release of Jong-nam's body and the release of three of its Kuala Lumpur-based diplomats.

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