On 19th March, North Korea stated it was severing ties with Malaysia after a court in the country decided that a North Korean criminal suspect could be extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges. Based on local media reports on 9th March, the North Korean extradited was Mun Chol-Myong (문철명).
Mun was detained in 2019 after the United States claimed he was laundering funds through fully functioning companies and also issuing fraudulent documents in support of illicit shipments to North Korea. The North Korean suspect stated that it was politically driven.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry deemed the charges as “absurd fabrication and sheer plot” planned by the United States, who is North Korea’s main enemy. The ministry also announced that diplomatic relations with Malaysia will be totally severed due to committing a huge hostile act against North Korea. It claimed it was due to the “subservience to the U.S. pressure”.
Moreover, the ministry threatened the United States stating, “We warn in advance that the U.S., the backstage manipulator and main culprit of this incident, that it will also be made to pay a due price.”
According to the ministry involved, Pyongyang has stated that the punishment of extradition by Malaysia was an act of crime that cannot be forgiven. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released a statement that the actions of Malaysia have destroyed “the entire foundation of the bilateral relations based on the respect for sovereignty”.
The close relationship between Malaysia and North Korea started deteriorating after Kim Jong-Un’s brother Kim Jong-Nam was murdered at an airport in Kuala Lumpur in February 2017.
He was killed by two women, one Indonesian and one Thai, who smeared VX nerve agent on his face. According to the United Nations, the nerve agent is a weapon of mass destruction.