Talks on visa-free entry for N. Koreans likely after embassy reopens

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says visits should be allowed, if not encouraged, when Malaysia and North Korea resume normal relations.

KUALA LUMPUR: Security and safety measures will be the priority when Malaysia reopens its embassy in Pyongyang, North Korea, next year, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said.

Although he declined to reveal details of these measures, he said they may include the status of visa-free entry for North Koreans to Malaysia.

“After we normalise our relations, we will address this issue.

“It doesn’t have to be visa-free. I don’t want to really go into that direction, but surely visits should be allowed, if not encouraged, and certain immigration rules and procedures must be observed,” he told Bernama.

Saifuddin said he was optimistic that these issues could be overcome by both parties.

North Koreans could travel visa-free to Malaysia and vice-versa before relations between the two countries took a turn for the worse following the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, at KLIA on Feb 13, 2017.

Saifuddin also said the reopening of the embassy in the first quarter of 2020 is an indirect way for Malaysia to play a role in motivating Pyongyang to continue its peace talks with South Korea.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were first established on June 30, 1973.