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N. Korea and Malaysia Sever Diplomatic Ties: Warning to U.S. Analysis Updated: 2021-03-22 16:20:42 KST

Malaysia had at one time been probably North Korea's closest diplomatic ally in Southeast Asia, having established ties in 1973.
The two nations had been so close that prior to 2017, the North Korean regime granted Malaysian passport holders visa-on-arrival access to the hermit kingdom, one of only three countries to enjoy this status.
But, ties between the two quickly soured after February 2017 assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Experts say in this latest incident, Pyeongyang is sending a message in its typically overbearing
style, but the target is as much the U.S. as it is Malaysia.

Let's bring in Park Won-gon, professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University for further analysis on North Korea's latest moves.
Dr. Park, Thank you for joining us.

The reaction from North Korea to this latest court ruling was entirely predictable considering Pyeongyang's long history of using harsh and bombastic language and breaking ties over what is perceived as the slightest insult. But this time, the target is deemed as much the U.S. as it is Malaysia.
What is the message?

Even taking into consideration North Korea's overbearing behavior, severing diplomatic ties with one of a handful countries which maintain ties with the regime seems excessive for the impending extradition of one North Korean to the U.S.
Any chance North Korea made this decision to withdraw not only North Korean diplomats and their families in KL but a handful of other North Koreans in fear of getting its cover blown having used Malaysia to circumvent international sanctions?

CNN recently reported the U.S. intel's latest assessment that North Korea could be preparing to carry out its first weapons test since President Joe Biden came into office.
Experts have also been pointing out that history indicates North Korea would carry out a provocation during the first few months of a new U.S. administration. How do you gauge the possibility?

Park Won-gon, Professor of North Korean Studies at Ewha Womans University, many thanks for your perspective. We appreciate it.

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