Police patrol on duty outside North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AP
North Korea on Friday said it was cutting diplomatic ties with Malaysia to protest a recent court ruling that allows a North Korean citizen to be extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry called the man’s charges an “absurd fabrication and sheer plot” orchestrated by the US, which is “the principal enemy of our state” where the man was eventually extradited.
The ministry said that it was announcing “total severance of the diplomatic relations with Malaysia which committed super-large hostile act against (North Korea) in subservience to the US pressure.”
It said the United States will “pay a due price.”
Earlier this month, Malaysia’s top court rejected an assertion by the North Korean citizen that the US charge was politically motivated, ruling that that 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. Malaysia’s government approved the request, but Mun challenged the bid.
In his affidavit, Mun denied accusations by the US that he was involved in supplying prohibited luxury goods from Singapore to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions while working in the city-state before moving to Malaysia in 2008.
Mun denied that he had laundered funds through front companies and that he issued fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to his country. He said in his affidavit that he was the victim of a “politically motivated” extradition request aimed at pressuring North Korea over its missile program.
The reported extradition comes amid deadlocked nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. Diplomatic efforts led by the US to persuade North Korea to abandon its advancing nuclear arsenal have stalled for more than two years because of disputes over US-led sanctions on North Korea.
North Korea’s statement Friday described ties between Pyongyang and Washington as the world’s “most hostile.”
“This incident made by the Malaysian authority constitutes an undisguised alignment with and direct engagement in the anti-(North Korea) hostile maneuvers of the United States which seeks to deprive our state of its sovereignty and rights to existence and development,” the ministry said.
A North Korean man launched a legal challenge on Friday against a US bid to extradite him from Malaysia over allegations he supplied goods to his country in breach of sanctions.
A North Korean man is likely to face money-laundering charges in the United States after a Malaysian court approved his extradition on Friday, in a case his lawyers claim is politically motivated.
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