For Prime Minister Najib Razak his fellow citizens are "hostages." Police say Pyongyang's embassy in Kuala Lumpur is hiding people sought in connection to the murder of Kim Jong-nam
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - North Korea has banned Malaysian citizens from leaving the country; in response Kuala Lumpur has done the same for North Koreans living in Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, condemning Pyongyang’s move denounced that his citizens are effectively "hostages" of North Korea.
The ban and the response of Malaysia are the most recent act in the tensions that are emerging between the two countries after the killing of Kim Jong-nam, brother of the North Korea dictator, Kim Jong-un. Kuala Lumpur has not directly blamed the North’s regime, but is looking for a few North Koreans that took part in the assassination of Kim. One of them is a Pyongyang secretary to Kuala Lumpur who police believe is hiding in the embassy (see photo) along with at least one other suspect.
In recent days, North Korea criticized Malaysia for the way it handled the death of the "North Korean citizen," because of a lack of scientific autopsy (which showed poisoning by nerve agent), and for having listed North Koreans among suspects. Three days ago, Malaysia expelled the ambassador of North Korea for insulting the country; immediately after Pyongyang did the same with the Malaysian ambassador.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, there are 11 Malaysian citizens in North Korea. Three of them work at the embassy, two at the United Nations, the others are their relatives.
In Malaysia there are 14 North Koreans who work in the embassy. Another hundred live in the country, mostly students and workers. At least another 170 North Koreans work in Sarawak.