After ending a bilateral visa-waiver deal and expelling the top envoy, Malaysia hinted it would take additional steps against North Korea in an escalating spat over the death of leader Kim Jong-un's half brother, a media report said Monday.
On Saturday, Malaysia gave 48 hours to North Korean Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Kang Chol to leave the country. Earlier last week Malaysia canceled a visa-free travel deal with Pyongyang in response to the North's criticism that Malaysia colluded with South Korea for its probe into the killing of Kim Jong-nam.
|This photo, taken Feb. 20, 2017, shows Kang Chol (R), the North Korean Amabssador to Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur decided last week to expel Kang, ordering him to leave the country by March 6, 2017, amid a deepening diplomatic row over the two countries following the death of the half brother of North Korea's leader. (Yonhap)|
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told reporters on Monday that his country has decided to expel Kang in a bid to defend its sovereignty and national pride, according to Malaysia's New Straits Times.
"We will see... we will take one step at a time," Najib was quoted as saying by the report.
The prime minister said Kang should have apologized for making baseless allegations against Malaysia, but has yet to do so, the report added.
Kim Jong-nam died on Feb. 13 at an airport in Kuala Lumpur after two Asian women allegedly smeared the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent on his face.
Malaysian police said that eight North Koreans are suspected of being involved in the death, along with the two women.
Ri Jong-chol, who was taken into custody, was released and deported last week due to a lack of evidence.
Four North Korean suspects are believed to have fled Malaysia to Pyongyang on the day of Kim's death. Police are looking for three others including Hyon Kwang-song, the second secretary at the North's embassy in Malaysia.
There is speculation that Malaysia is considering cutting off its diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, which have been maintained for more than 40 years. (Yonhap)