MALAYSIA STOPS BUYING NORTH KOREAN GOODS
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.
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.
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.