Anifah Aman, foreign minister of Malaysia, says it sent a notice to the North Korean Embassy on Saturday, saying the envoy must leave the country within 48 hours.

North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol speaks during a news conference at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in this file photo.
North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol speaks during a news conference at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in this file photo.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said on Saturday the government had expelled North Korea's ambassador for criticising the investigation into the February 13 killing of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur's airport.

A notice was sent to the North Korean Embassy saying North Korea's Ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol, must leave the country within 48 hours, Anifah said in a statement.

The ambassador has been declared persona non grata.

TRT World spoke with Zan Azlee, a Kuala Lumpur-based journalist, for more details.

Malaysia demands apology

Malaysia demanded an apology from the ambassador for his comments but no apology had come and none appeared to be forthcoming, said Anifah, adding that North Korean Embassy officials also failed to turn up for a meeting Saturday at the foreign ministry.

Malaysia will react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation.

Kang Chol said last month his country "cannot trust" Malaysia's handling of the probe.

He also accused the country of "colluding with outside forces" in a veiled reference to bitter rival South Korea.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called the comments "diplomatically rude."

Earlier this week, Malaysia said it would cancel visa-free entry for North Koreans entering the country starting March 6.

Anifah said this move was "an indication of the government's concern that Malaysia may have been used for illegal activities."

The move comes nearly three weeks after Kim Jong-nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur's airport using VX after two women smeared his face with the toxic nerve agent, considered a weapon of mass destruction.

Malaysia deported a North Korean suspect in the case on March 3.

The US and South Korean officials said Kim Jong-nam was killed by agents of North Korea.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies