KL halts im­ports from N. Korea

The Straits Times - - ASIA -

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 pro­grammes.

Malaysia did not buy any goods from North Korea in June and July, af­ter buy­ing RM20.6 mil­lion (S$6.6 mil­lion) worth of goods in the first five months of the year, ac­cord­ing to data from the De­part­ment of Statis­tics.

Kuala Lumpur’s ties with Py­ongyang have de­te­ri­o­rated since the as­sas­si­na­tion of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s es­tranged half-brother at Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Fe­bru­ary. The United States and South Korea said the as­sas­si­na­tion was or­dered by Mr Kim.

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

Mr Trump had told re­porters af­ter the meet­ing last month that Mr Na­jib “does not do busi­ness with North Korea any longer, and we find that to be very im­por­tant”.

Malaysia had been a key source of rev­enue for the North. Ci­ti­zens from both coun­tries en­joyed visafree travel.

Malaysia was host to hun­dreds of the North’s work­ers. More im­por­tantly were op­er­a­tions that fun­nelled money to the regime. Reuters re­ported ear­lier this year that North Korea’s spy agency, the Re­con­nais­sance Gen­eral Bu­reau, was run­ning an arms op­er­a­tion out of Kuala Lumpur.

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