Malaysia bans travel to North Korea, soccer match post­poned

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

MALAYSIA on Thurs­day banned its cit­i­zens from trav­el­ing to North Korea as the coun­try faces in­creas­ing diplo­matic pres­sure over its weapons pro­grams.

The travel ban prompted the re­gion’s foot­ball gov­ern­ing body to post­pone for the third time an Asian Cup qual­i­fier match be­tween Malaysia and North Korea sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 5 in Py­ongyang. The match has al­ready been de­layed twice due to se­cu­rity is­sues.

The Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion said in a state­ment it will have to de­cide on the fu­ture sta­tus of the match.

Malaysia’s for­eign min­istry cited North Korea’s mis­sile tests and re­lated de­vel­op­ments as the rea­sons for the travel ban and said it would last un­til fur­ther notice.

North Korea has been tar­geted in re­cent months by stricter sanc­tions and in­creas­ing diplo­matic pres­sure, with Kuwait and Mexico ex­pelling its en­voys in re­cent weeks. Since July, North Korea has launched its first in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles, has flown midrange mis­siles over Ja­pan into the Pa­cific and has det­o­nated its sixth nu­clear test.

Malaysia is one of its few re­main­ing diplo­matic part­ners in the world, even though ten­sions es­ca­lated after the North Korean leader’s es­tranged half brother was killed at the Kuala Lumpur air­port in Fe­bru­ary. Both coun­tries im­posed travel bans on the other’s cit­i­zens that were lifted after a deal was reached in March.

Two women from Viet­nam and In­done­sia have been charged in the mur­der, widely be­lieved to have been or­ches­trated by North Korea. – AP

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