Malaysians banned from travelling to N.Korea

Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Foreign Ministry on Thursday banned its citizens from travelling to Pyongyang due to escalation in tensions in the Korean peninsula.

“This decision is taken in view of the escalation of tensions in the Korean peninsula and related developments arising from missile tests,” the ministry said.

It added that the travel ban will be reviewed once the situation has returned to normal, reports Efe news.

The move follows Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, where it claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on a ballistic missile.

The Malaysian order also comes four days ahead of the beginning of the trial of two women who have been accused of murdering Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who died in February after he was allegedly poisoned at the Kuala Lumpur airport.

The investigation into the incident, that South Korea and the US alleged was masterminded by North Korea, had severely strained diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Kuala Lumpur.

Kim Jong-nam, who was travelling with a passport under the pseudonym Kim Chol, was scheduled to fly to Macau, where he was living in exile, when he was assaulted by Siti Aisyah, an Indonesian national, and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese national.

The two suspects, who will testify before a court of law on October 2, said they were conned by a group of men, allegedly North Korean agents, who promised them money to play a prank on the victim for a television show.