MALAYSIA STOPS BUY­ING NORTH KOREAN GOODS

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - WORLD - —REUTERS, AP

KUALA LUMPUR— Malaysia, which un­til re­cently had been one of Py­ongyang’s clos­est friends, has halted all im­ports from North Korea, as part of global ef­forts to cut off fund­ing over its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams.

Malaysia did not buy any goods from North Korea in June and July, af­ter buy­ing $4.89 million worth of North Korean goods in the first five months of the year, ac­cord­ing to data from the Depart­ment of Sta­tis­tics.

Malaysia’s ties with North Korea have de­te­ri­o­rated since the Fe­bru­ary as­sas­si­na­tion of Kim Jong-un’s es­tranged half brother at Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port, which the United States and South Korea said was or­dered by the North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un.

Key rev­enue source

Kuala Lumpur last month banned its cit­i­zens from trav­el­ling to North Korea, two weeks af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak met with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at the White House.

Malaysia had been a key source of rev­enue for the North.

Cit­i­zens from both coun­tries en­joyed visa-free travel. Malaysia was host to hun­dreds of over­seas North Korean work­ers.

Reuters re­ported ear­lier this year North Korea’s spy agency, the Re­con­nais­sance Bu­reau, was run­ning an arms op­er­a­tion out of Kuala Lumpur.

The United Na­tions on Sept. 11 banned North Korea’s lu­cra­tive tex­tile ex­ports as well as all joint ven­tures with North Korean in­di­vid­u­als or en­ti­ties.

The United Arab Emi­rates also said it would stop is­su­ing new visas to North Korean work­ers, be­com­ing the lat­est Gulf coun­try to limit Py­ongyang’s abil­ity to evade sanc­tions and raise money abroad amid ten­sions with the US.

UAE pres­sure

A state­ment by the UAE For­eign Min­istry did not ad­dress the thou­sands of North Korean la­bor­ers al­ready work­ing in the Emi­rates. A call to the UAE’s Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton was not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

The state­ment said the UAE would pull its non­res­i­dent am­bas­sador to North Korea as well as stop North Kore­ans from open­ing new busi­nesses in the Emi­rates, a fed­er­a­tion of seven sheikhdoms on the Ara­bian Penin­sula that is a staunch US ally.

The UAE “looks forward to a uni­fied global front against North Korea’s nu­clear weapons and mis­sile pro­gram,” the state­ment read.

—REUTERS

North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un ap­pears un­per­turbed by con­tin­u­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure for him to cease mis­sile and nu­clear tests and vis­its an academy for sol­diers cel­e­brat­ing its 70th an­niver­sary.

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