North Korea has temporarily barred Malaysians from leaving the country to ensure safety of its diplomats and citizens in Malaysia as police investigates the murder of Kim Jong-nam stating that three men is hiding in the North Korean embassy.
After Pyongyang announced the move, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak swiftly called to immediately release Malaysian citizens and instructing police to ban all North Korean citizens in Malaysia from leaving the country.
"This act, effectively holding our citizens hostage, is in total disregard of all international law and diplomatic norms," stated Najib, adding that he had called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.
"All Malaysians in the DPRK will be temporarily prohibited from leaving the country until the incident that happened in Malaysia is properly solved," stated the KCNA.
According to the Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Marican, there were 11 Malaysians in North Korea: Three at the embassy, two UN workers and six family members. However, this number had not included those who are on an approved tours or on other business.
Pyongyang and Kuala Lumpur had strong links for years, but have been in hot water following the assassination of King Jong-nam by two women using VX nerve agent at the KLIA 2 International Airport.
North Korea has yet to confirm the dead man's identity, but has denied the Malaysian investigation as an attempt to smear it.
Earlier, Malaysia expelled North Korea's ambassador from the country while Pyongyang expelled the Malaysian ambassador from its country. Malaysia has also decided to cancel the visa-free entry for North Koreans entering the country.
We hope that all Malaysians in North Korea return safely.