The reclusive nation calls the Malaysian court ruling “bad” but does not say whether it will close its embassy.
North Korea has said it will cut diplomatic ties with Malaysia after a court in the Southeast Asian country ruled that a North Korean man could be extradited to the United States for doing facing money laundering charges, state media reported on Friday.
North Korea’s foreign ministry also warned Washington “will pay a price,” in a statement released by the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA).
Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The North Korean statement did not name its citizen, but in early March Malaysia’s highest court ruled that a North Korean man, Mun Chol Myong, could be extradited.
Mun had lived in Malaysia for a decade and was arrested in May 2019 after US authorities requested his extradition. The Malaysian government approved the request, but Mun contested the offer.
In his affidavit, Mun denied US accusations that he was involved in supplying banned luxury goods from Singapore to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions while working in the city- State before moving to Malaysia in 2008.
He denied having laundered funds through shell companies and issuing fraudulent documents to justify illicit shipments to his country. He said in his affidavit that he was the victim of a “politically motivated” extradition request to pressure North Korea over its missile program.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry called the extradition “a nefarious act and a crime of unforgivably heavy” on the part of the Malaysian authorities, who had “offered our citizen as a sacrifice of the hostile American move in defiance of the recognized international laws ”.
Malaysia’s actions have destroyed “the whole foundation of bilateral relations based on respect for sovereignty,” he said.
Kim Jong Nam assassination
Kuala Lumpur’s once close ties with North Korea deteriorated sharply after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged brother, Kim Jong Nam, was killed at a Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017 when two women stood together. the face is coated with a VX nerve agent, which the United Nations lists as a weapon of mass destruction.
Malaysia has suspended the operations of its embassy in Pyongyang after securing the safe return of nine citizens detained in Pyongyang in exchange for the release of Kim Jong Nam’s body.
Despite a promise from then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during an apparent thaw in diplomatic relations in 2018, the embassy never resumed operations.
North Korea had used Malaysia as a hub for its arms export operation and to create business entities to channel money to North Korean rulers.
It currently has an embassy in an upscale residential area of Kuala Lumpur.
The statement did not mention Pyongyang’s plans for the embassy.
“We are warning in advance that the United States – the manipulator behind the scenes and the main culprit in this incident – that it will also be forced to pay the price owed,” KCNA reported.
The United States is reviewing its North Korean policy in consultation with its allies. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that the process would be completed in the coming weeks.