PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are barred from travelling to the People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) until further notice, Wisma Putra said yesterday.
The ban, which is effective immediately, is taken in view of the escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula and related developments arising from missile tests in the hermit state.
“The travel ban will be reviewed once the situation has returned to normal,” it said in a statement yesterday.
The public may contact the Foreign Ministry at +603-80008000 (office hours) or +603-88874570 (after office hours) for further inquiries, it added.
North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests of late, firing 22 missiles during 15 tests since February, the latest of which was launched over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Sept 15 before falling into the Pacific Ocean.
World leaders have condemned the republic’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests, with some calling for even tougher sanctions, including Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had also threatened to test the “strongest ever” hydrogen bomb above the Pacific Ocean – the first nuclear weapon to be detonated in the atmosphere in decades – after US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the republic.
Malaysia’s relationship with North Korea also took a sour turn recently, following the assassination of Jong Un’s half brother Kim Jong-Nam last February at the Kuala Lumpur Airport.
The attack had sparked a diplomatic row resulting in travel bans on both sides and a collapse in long-standing friendly ties, with the government recalling its ambassador there.
Malaysia is however just one of 21 countries in the world that does not require a visa to travel to the communist state.