Wisma Putra imposes travel ban to North Korea

north-korea_travek_ban_600PETALING JAYA: The government has imposed an immediate ban on Malaysians travelling to North Korea.

The foreign ministry released a statement this morning announcing the travel ban, adding that it was until further notice.

“The decision to impose the travel ban on Malaysians to North Korea was taken in view of the escalation of tensions in the Korean peninsula and related developments arising from missile tests,” Wisma Putra said.

The ministry added that the travel ban will be reviewed once the situation has returned to normal.

There has been heightened tension after North Korea’s two missile tests over Japan earlier this month, with United States President Donald Trump saying he was ready to respond with military action, during his speech at the United Nations general assembly.

Last week, North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York that Pyongyang was ready to test a powerful nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, the travel ban is also likely to impact the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifying match between North Korea and Malaysia, scheduled for Oct 5 in Pyongyang.

On Sept 20, FAM president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim announced in a statement that he had been given special permission from North Korea to travel direct to Pyongyang prior to the match, instead of having to stop over in Beijing, China first.

He said this following a meeting with North Korean envoy to Malaysia, Kim Yu Song.

The match was originally scheduled for March 28, and then June 8. However, it was called off both times due to security concerns following the diplomatic fallout between Malaysia and North Korea earlier this year.

Ties between Malaysia and North Korea reached a low over the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged brother in the klia2 airport in Sepang, in February.

As a result, citizens of both countries who had been enjoying visa-free travel for decades have to now apply for visas from the respective foreign missions.