PER­SONA NON GRATA

Kang Chol, em­bassy of­fi­cials had failed to show up when sum­moned by Wisma Pu­tra

New Straits Times - - Front Page - RE­PORT BY FER­NANDO FONG

The North Korean am­bas­sador, Kang Chol, has been given 48 hours from 6pm yes­ter­day to leave the coun­try. This fol­lows Py­ongyang’s re­fusal to apol­o­gise for dis­parag­ing re­marks made against Malaysia over in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the death of Kim Jong-nam.

MALAYSIA has de­clared North Korea’s am­bas­sador Kang Chol per­sona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the coun­try.

For­eign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman said the ac­tion was taken against the am­bas­sador af­ter he and North Korean em­bassy of­fi­cials failed to meet Wisma Pu­tra af­ter be­ing sum­moned.

The meet­ing was to take place at 6pm yes­ter­day.

He said Kang Chol and se­nior em­bassy of­fi­cials failed to meet the For­eign Min­istry’s Deputy Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral for Bi­lat­eral Af­fairs Raja Nushir­wan Zainal Abidin.

“Nei­ther the am­bas­sador nor se­nior em­bassy of­fi­cials were present at the min­istry.”

Ani­fah also re­vealed that For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cials, led by Raja Nushir­wan, had met a high-level North Korean del­e­ga­tion led by Kim Song last Tues­day.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Ani­fah said, the Malaysian gov­ern­ment de­manded a writ­ten apol­ogy from North Korea for the ac­cu­sa­tions against Malaysia made by the North Korean am­bas­sador.

He said the del­e­ga­tion was in­formed that if no re­sponse was re­ceived by 10pm that day, the gov­ern­ment would take mea­sures that would best pro­tect its in­ter­ests.

“Almost four days have passed since the dead­line lapsed. No such apol­ogy has been made, nei­ther has there been any in­di­ca­tion that one is forth­com­ing.

“For this rea­son, the am­bas­sador has been de­clared per­sona non grata,” Ani­fah said.

He said for this rea­son, Wisma Pu­tra, via a diplo­matic note sent to the em­bassy yes­ter­day evening, in­formed the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea (North Korea) gov­ern­ment that Kang Chol had been de­clared per­sona non grata by the gov­ern­ment.

“He is ex­pected to leave Malaysia within 48 hours from the sched­uled time of the meet­ing, which was 6pm to­day (yes­ter­day),” Ani­fah said last night.

In diplo­matic par­lance, per­sona non grata meant “per­son not ap­pre­ci­ated”.

It means that a for­eign per­son who is pro­hib­ited from en­ter­ing or re­main­ing in a coun­try by that coun­try’s gov­ern­ment and is deemed the most se­ri­ous form of dis­ap­proval that the coun­try can ap­ply to for­eign diplo­mats.

It is also of­ten used to ex­press dis­plea­sure at the con­duct or poli­cies of the send­ing state.

Ac­cord­ing to Ar­ti­cle 9 of the Vienna Con­ven­tion on Diplo­matic Re­la­tions (1961), the re­ceiv­ing coun­try may at any time and with­out hav­ing to ex­plain its de­ci­sion, de­clare am­bas­sadors, heads of mis­sions or any mem­ber of the diplo­matic staff as per­sona non grata.

In such cases, the send­ing state shall re­call the per­son or ter­mi­nate his func­tion with the em­bassy or mis­sion.

It also states that if the send­ing state re­fuses to do so, the re­ceiv­ing state may refuse to recog­nise the per­son con­cerned as a mem­ber of the em­bassy or mis­sion.

Diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween Malaysia and North Korea be­came strained af­ter Kang crit­i­cised Malaysia for re­fus­ing to re­lease the body of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Jong-nam, trav­el­ling un­der the pass­port bear­ing the name “Kim Chol”, was as­sas­si­nated at klia2 on Feb 13.

The am­bas­sador had sug­gested that Malaysia was try­ing to “con­ceal some­thing” and was col­lud­ing with hos­tile forces against North Korea in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mur­der.

Ani­fah pointed out that re­cent events, in­clud­ing the re­lease of North Korean sus­pect Ri Jong­chol from police cus­tody for the lack of ev­i­dence was proof that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted in an im­par­tial, fair and trans­par­ent man­ner, be­fit­ting a coun­try that prac­tised the rule of law.

He said it should be clear that Malaysia would re­act strongly to in­sults against it or any at­tempt to tar­nish its rep­u­ta­tion.

“The ex­pul­sion of the DPRK am­bas­sador comes at the heels of the de­ci­sion of the Malaysian gov­ern­ment, an­nounced by Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi, that ef­fec­tive Mon­day (to­day), cit­i­zens of DPRK re­quire visas to en­ter Malaysia.

“This is an in­di­ca­tion of the gov­ern­ment’s con­cern that Malaysia may have been used for il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Ani­fah said the mea­sures were part of the process by the gov­ern­ment to re­view its re­la­tions with North Korea.

we have the records as we have state-of-the-art equip­ment,” he said yes­ter­day af­ter the launch of the Pe­nang Mar­itime Vol­un­teers Force in Gel­u­gor here.

How­ever, Dr Hilmi said, the min­istry had yet to get the records.

“We will carry out the test af­ter re­ceiv­ing the DNA records. We have to wait for the Home and For­eign Af­fairs Min­istries to give us fam­ily or med­i­cal and den­tal records.”

He said there was no progress on the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process, pend­ing DNA sam­ples from next of kin or med­i­cal and den­tal records.

“The police and For­eign Af­fairs Min­istry are look­ing for the med­i­cal and den­tal records.”

Asked whether tat­toos on the body could be used for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, Dr Hilmi said it would be tough to do so as there were no of­fi­cial records of the tat­toos on Jong-nam’s body.

“I will leave it to the foren­sics team to an­swer that be­cause they are the ex­perts.”

PIC BY ZUL­FADHLI ZULK­I­FLI

Mem­bers of the me­dia were still camp­ing out­side the Foren­sics Depart­ment at Kuala Lumpur Hospi­tal yes­ter­day.

Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman

Kang Chol

PIC BY MIKAIL ONG

Deputy Health Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Ya­haya (right) and Langkawi Mar­itime Dis­trict 1 Chief Mar­itime En­forcer First Ad­mi­ral Zulka­r­nain Mohd Omar af­ter launch­ing the Pe­nang Mar­itime Vol­un­teers Force in Ge­orge Town yes­ter­day.

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