The United Nations urged calm between North Korea and Malaysia on Tuesday as a diplomatic row between the two countries dramatically escalated over the killing of the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader.
"We call for calm and for both parties to settle any differences through established diplomatic practice," UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said at a regular briefing.
Relations between the North and Malaysia have soured seriously in the wake of the Feb. 13 killing in Malaysia of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as Pyongyang accused Kuala Lumpur of colluding with South Korea to incriminate the country as the culprit.
|North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol arrives in Beijing on March 7, 2017, after being expelled from the Southeast Asian nation one day earlier. (AFP-Yonhap)|
Malaysia expelled the North's ambassador for raising the unfounded accusations, and the North responded by kicking out Malaysia's ambassador to Pyongyang.
Earlier Tuesday, the North's Foreign Ministry said the country will not allow Malaysians staying in the North to leave the country temporarily. In a tit-for-tat response, Malaysia also said that North Korean Embassy staff are barred from leaving the country.
Malaysian police have determined that the lethal nerve agent VX was used, adding to mounting evidence that the North was behind the killing. VX is a chemical agent listed as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations and its use is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Eight North Koreans have been named as suspects, but the North has denied its involvement. (Yonhap)