SEOUL (March 19, 2021)– North Korea has said it will sever diplomatic ties with Malaysia after a court ruled that a North Korean man could be extradited to the United States to face money laundering charges, state media KCNA reported on Friday.
North Korea’s foreign ministry also warned Washington “will pay a price,” in a statement released by KCNA.
Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The North Korean statement did not name its citizen, but in early March Malaysia’s highest court ruled that a North Korean man, Mun Chol Myong, could be extradited.
The North Korean foreign ministry called the extradition a “nefarious act and unpardonably heavy crime” by Malaysian authorities, who had “offered our citizen as a sacrifice of the US hostile move in defiance of the acknowledged international laws”.
Mun was arrested in 2019 after the United States accused him of laundering money through shell companies and issuing fraudulent documents to support illicit shipments to North Korea. He fought the extradition request, arguing it was politically motivated.
The ministry’s statement did not mention what would happen to North Korea’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
“We warn in advance that the US – the backstage manipulator and main culprit of this incident – that it will also be made to pay a due price,” KCNA reported.
On Thursday US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the administration of President Joe Biden would complete a review of its North Korea policy in the next few weeks in close consultation with allies.