Malaysia has declared North Korea’s ambassador persona non grata over the murder of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un‘s half-brother, and ordered the diplomat to leave Malaysia within the next 48 hours
Kang Chol’s expulsion came on Saturday, just weeks after Kim Jong-nam was poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13.
Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from Kuala Lumpur, said that according to the authorities the decision to expel the envoy made after he failed to appear at Malaysia’s foreign ministry today at 6pm local time where he was summoned.
“They were also expecting North Korea to issue an apology because of the accusations they were making against Malaysia. But that also didn’t happen, so they took this drastic measure they said,” she said.
Following the incident, Malaysia summoned Chol and also recalled its envoy to North Korea.
Also on Saturday, a suspect in the murder said he was a victim of a conspiracy by Malaysia aimed at damaging North Korea’s honour.
Speaking to reporters outside the North Korean embassy in Beijing, Ri Jong-chol, a North Korean, said: “I realised that this is a conspiracy plot to try to damage the status and honour of the republic.”
He also said he was presented with false evidence while in Malaysia.
Ri, who was deported to China on Friday after being released by Malaysian police a day earlier, denied knowing anything about an accusation that his car was used in the case and said he was not at the airport on the day of the killing.
“I had no reason to go. I was just doing my work,” he said, adding that he worked in Malaysia trading ingredients needed for soap manufacturing.
Kim was murdered on February 13 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where he was allegedly attacked by two women who, according to Malaysian police, smeared his face with VX, a chemical classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.
Kim Jong-nam and Kim Jong-un are both sons of former leader Kim Jong-il, who died in late 2011, but they had different mothers.
South Korea’s spy agency believes North Korea was behind the killing, but has produced no evidence.
Analysts in Seoul said Kim Jong-un probably had his brother killed because he could be a potential challenger to his rule in a country where his family ruled for three generations and where the bloodline is still extolled in the country’s founding mythology.
North Korea has a long history of ordering killings of people it views as threats to its regime.
While Kim was not thought to be seeking influence, his position as eldest son of the family that has ruled North Korea since its founding could have made him appear to be a danger.
He was at the airport to fly to Macau, where he had a home.
Al Jazeera reports from Macau on Kim Jong-nam’s ‘hideout’
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies