Pyongyang has cut diplomatic ties with Malaysia, responding to a “nefarious” court ruling allowing the extradition of a North Korean citizen to the US.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Friday described the extradition as a "nefarious act and unpardonably heavy crime" carried out by Malaysian authorities “in subservience to the US pressure”, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“With regard to the grave situation that has prevailed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK hereby announces total severance of the diplomatic relations with Malaysia,” the KCNA report said, using an abbreviation for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Earlier this month, Malaysia's top court rejected an appeal by a North Korean man named Mun Chol Myong against his extradition to the US to face charges of laundering money through front companies and violating sanctions imposed on his country, which are described by his lawyers as politically motivated.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry also warned that Washington would "pay a price".
"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 said.
North Korea has been under harsh US and United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs.
Former US president Donald Trump met with the North Korean leader three times, but he refused to meet Pyongyang’s demand for the removal of some sanctions in return for major North Korean measures toward demilitarization in the then-ongoing diplomacy.
KCNA said on Friday the citizen being extradited had been involved in "legitimate" trading activities in Singapore.
Malaysia and North Korea had warm relations as members of the Non-Aligned Movement, but the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in a nerve agent attack in 2017, sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries.