KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia on Friday called North Korea’s decision to sever bilateral ties unfriendly, unconstructive and unconducive to regional stability, giving Pyongyang’s embassy staff and their families 48 hours to leave the country.
“Malaysia had always considered the DPRK a close partner since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973,” the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, using the abbreviation for the North’s formal name. “Malaysia was among the earliest to have done so and continued to support the DPRK during their difficult times.”
Earlier on Friday, North Korea’s state media had announced Pyongyang was cutting ties over a Malaysian court ruling that a North Korean citizen can be extradited to the U.S.
Before the Malaysian ministry’s response, a local newspaper, the New Straits Times, reported that the North Korean ministry was already preparing to close its doors. “Yes, we will be shutting down,” the paper quoted embassy charge d’affaires Kim Yu Song as saying. “We are now discussing the plans with our staff here and liaising with our government.”