The decision of the Malaysian government to expel the North Korean ambassador, Kang Chol, was not made in a hurry but professionally and following the law.
Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the decision was made under the Vienna Convention on inter-government diplomatic ties.
“We don’t take action hurriedly, we go step-by-step. We do not do anything without specific reasons as it would be a futile exercise.
“We act in compliance with the international law and in terms of diplomatic relations, it is in compliance with the domestic law,” he told reporters after opening a function in Kepala Batas yesterday.
He said this when commenting on a statement by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman yesterday who declared Kang Chol as ‘persona non grata’ and given 48 hours to leave the country.
The expulsion of the ambassador was following the decision of the Malaysian government that effective March 6, North Korean citizens must apply for a visa to enter Malaysia. The decision was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Persona non grata is interpreted roughly to mean ‘people who are not appreciated’ and someone who has been so declared are banned from entering or continuing to stay in a country.
Asked if there would be a follow-up action after the expulsion including severing ties with North Korea, Reezal Merican said: “We need not preempt, we will go with the flow but we will do it professionally”.
He said the Malaysian government always acted on any matter with moderation and was never unreasonable when taking action.