KUALA LUMPUR: The North Korean Embassy has been vacated with diplomats and staff leaving for the KL International Airport along with their family members in a bus.
The bus left the embassy in Damansara here around 11am yesterday.
Before that, flags were removed and staff inside were seen loading suitcases under police escort.
The departure came in the wake of Wisma Putra’s announcement on Friday that the embassy be vacated and for all North Koreans to leave Malaysia within 48 hours.
This is after Pyongyang said it was severing diplomatic relations after the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that one of their nationals was to be extradited to the United States to face money-laundering charges.
Addressing the media before leaving for the airport, North Korean counsellor Kim Yu-song warned that the Malaysian government would “bear the consequences” of what had happened.
“This incident is an outright product of an anti-DPRK conspiracy created from the heinous policy by the US, ” he said, adding that the incident had “deprived the state of its sovereignty”.
Yesterday, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said all North Korean diplomats had been expelled from the country in keeping with the Malaysian government’s decision on March 19.
“The expulsion has been carried out in conformity with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.
“The Malaysian government has to resort to taking this action in response to the DPRK’s unilateral and utterly irresponsible decision to sever diplomatic ties with Malaysia on March 19, ” he said, adding that the action was necessary to protect Malaysia’s sovereignty and safeguard its national interest.
“This action is a reminder that Malaysia shall never tolerate any attempt to meddle in our internal affairs and judiciary, disrespect our governance system, and constantly create unnecessary tension in defiance of the rules-based international order, ” he said.
North Korean Mun Chol-myong was extradited to the United States on March 17.
This is not the first time that ties between the two countries have soured after the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in klia2 sparked a diplomatic row.
At that time, Malaysia suspended operations at its Pyongyang embassy after securing the safe return of nine citizens detained within its compound in exchange for the release of Jong-nam’s body as well as three of its Kuala Lumpur-based diplomats.