The foreign ministry of North Korea notified the Malaysian embassy in Pyongyang on 7 March 2017 that it had temporarily banned Malaysians from leaving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) until the safety of North Korean diplomats and citizens in Malaysia was fully guaranteed through the fair settlement of the case involving the murder of North Korean leader’s half brother Kim Jong Nam.
The North Korean ministry also stated that it hoped that the Malaysian embassy in North Korea and the foreign ministry of Malaysia would fairly and swiftly resolve the case in order to develop bilateral ties between both the nations.
• The notification assured complete safety of the diplomats and citizens of Malaysia in DPRK, stating that they could work and live normally under the same conditions and circumstances as before.
• The action was condemned by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak who said that it was in total disregard of all international law and diplomatic norms.
• He further warned that Malaysia would not hesitate to take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.
• Razak’s statement was followed up by a call for an emergency meeting of the National Security Council and a ban on all North Koreans from leaving Malaysia.
• The Malaysian police have also sealed off the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur to find out the exact number of officials inside.
According to Reezal Marican, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia, there are 11 Malaysians in North Korea including three at the Malaysian Embassy, two United Nations employees and six family members.
• The crisis was sparked following the lethal poisoning of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother Kim Jong-Nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.
• Kim Jong Nam was reportedly killed by a toxic VX nerve agent that left him dead within the time span of just two minutes.
• Though two women, one from Vietnam and other from Indonesia were arrested on the charge of murder, two North Koreans are also wanted for questioning by the Malaysian police and they are suspected to be hiding in the North Korean embassy.
• South Korea and the United States believe that the murder was orchestrated by North Korea.