Malaysia bans its citizens from travelling to North Korea, citing rising tensions

Malaysia bans its citizens from travelling to North Korea, citing rising tensions

Kerry Wise
September 30, 2017

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The ban applies to Malaysia's national team, which is scheduled to travel to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang for the match on Oct 5, said Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

However, the national team will now remain in Johor Baru until the following week before travelling to Hong Kong for another Group B qualifying match on Oct 10.

The search for a suitable venue for Malaysia's Asian Cup qualifier against North Korea has intensified following the Malaysian government's imposition of a travel ban that has thrown more doubt on the controversial fixture.

Tunku Ismail, who had earlier warned about the dangers of Malaysian players being poisoned in North Korea, was told he could travel directly through North Korean airspace any time he wanted to visit the country.

The decision was made in view of the "escalation of tensions" in the Korean Peninsula and related developments arising from the country's missile tests.

Malaysia's original match with North Korea was scheduled for March 28
Malaysia's original match with North Korea was scheduled for March 28

Malaysia's soccer team is scheduled to face North Korea in an Asian Cup tie in Pyongyang on October 5, a match that been delayed twice due to security fears.

FAM general secretary Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said they had informed AFC that the national team would be unable to travel to Pyongyang due to the directive from the Foreign Ministry.

An worldwide football match between Malaysia and North Korea has been postponed for the third time.

The Asian Football Confederation said in a statement it will have to decide on the future status of the match.

Relations between the two countries soured earlier this year following the assassination in Kuala Lumpur of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Two women from Vietnam and Indonesia have been charged in the murder widely believed to have been orchestrated by North Korea.

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