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Timeline - the unravelling of ties between 'friends'

Reuters

Published
Modified 8 Mar 2017, 4:38 am

North Korea barred Malaysians from leaving the country yesterday, sparking tit-for-tat action by Malaysia, as police investigating the murder of Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur sought to question three men hiding in the North Korean embassy.

Following is a chronology of ties between the two countries.

1973 - Malaysia and North Korea establish diplomatic ties.

1995 - Malaysia hosts talks between the United States and North Korea over freezing North Korea's nuclear programme.

2000 - Malaysia allows North Koreans to visit without visas.

2009 - Malaysia becomes first country whose citizens are allowed to travel to North Korea without a visa.

2011 - North Korea's state airline, Air Koryo, opens a route to Malaysia to attract more tourists.

2013 - Malaysia's Help University confers an honorary doctorate degree on North Korea Leader Kim Jong-un.

Feb 13, 2017 - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, is murdered at KL International Airport 2.

Feb 15 - US government believes North Korean agents were behind the murder, US government source says.

China had been protecting Kim Jong-nam, according to South Korea's spy agency.

North Korea's leader had "standing order" to kill Kim Jong-nam, South Korean lawmaker says quoting Seoul's intelligence agency.

Feb 16 - Malaysian police arrest Vietnamese and Indonesian women in murder case.

Feb 19 - Malaysian police say four North Korean suspects left the country the same day of the murder.

Feb 20 - North Korean ambassador says Malaysia trying to delay release of victim's body for "political aim", says police investigation cannot be trusted.

Feb 22 - Malaysia identifies North Korean embassy official, employee of state airline among suspects.

Malaysia says no family members of Kim Jong-nam have come forward to identify body or give DNA samples.

Feb 23 - North Korea blames Malaysia, South Korea for death of one of its citizens.

Feb 24 - Police say VX nerve agent, a chemical the UN classifies as a weapon of mass destruction, was used to assassinate Kim Jong-nam.

Feb 26 - Malaysia declares the low-cost terminal at KL International Airport a "safe zone" after completing decontamination sweep.

Feb 27 - South Korean lawmaker says airport assassins were from North Korea's ministry of state security and the foreign ministry.

March 1 - Malaysia charges Indonesian and Vietnamese with Kim Jong Nam's murder.

March 2 - North Korea says heart attack likely killed airport victim.

March 4 - Malaysia rejects suggestions it may have violated UN sanctions after a Reuters report said North Korea-linked firms were running an arms network in the country.

Malaysia deports North Korean suspect in Kim Jong-nam's murder, saying it had insufficient evidence to charge him.

March 6 - Malaysia cancels visa waiver programme.

Malaysia expels North Korean ambassador Kang Chol.

Malaysia asks that an Asian Cup football qualifier against North Korea be moved from Pyongyang to a neutral venue.

March 7 - North Korea bars Malaysians from leaving Pyongyang. Malaysia retaliates by sealing the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak accuses North Korea of "effectively holding our citizens hostage" and held an emergency meeting of his National Security Council.

- Reuters

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