February 23, 2017 13:09
Evidence suggests that the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was the operational headquarters in the hit on Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Malaysian police on Wednesday said one suspect in the assassination, Hyon Kwang-song (44), is a second secretary at the embassy, while another, Kim Uk-iI (37), works for North Korean flag carrier Air Koryo. Both are apparently holed up at the mission. Malaysian police have told the embassy that the two are wanted for questioning, but chances that it will surrender them are slim.
Pyongyang always resorts to grandstanding after its terrorist atrocities and has already blamed South Korea for the murder and accused Malaysia of covering it up, even as it demanded the body be cremated without an autopsy.
The North Korean ambassador, probably under great pressure from the regime, is denying the charges, making wild accusations and demanding the release of suspects who have been arrested.
It is a familiar pattern, though few previous attacks have been quite so inept. North Korea was behind the Rangoon bombing in 1983 that killed 17 South Koreans, including many government ministers, and the embassy there was the operational headquarters. One of the bombers was arrested and confessed to the crime, but North Korea vehemently denied any involvement.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said he will take diplomatic measures "step-by-step" to deal with the North and has already recalled the envoy to Pyongyang, leaving open the possibility of severing ties completely.
With the very public hit, the North has managed to ruin its relationship with one of the few countries in the world with which it has friendly diplomatic ties. It does not seem to care.
Other Southeast Asian governments are apparently monitoring the latest developments because the region is a major playing field of North Korean diplomats-cum-criminals. A majority of ASEAN member nations are now focusing harder on the illegal acts of North Korean diplomats on their soil.
The international community needs to teach the North an unforgettable lesson, otherwise the appalling crimes of its henchmen will never stop.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com