Is North Korea’s use of chemical weapons in Malaysia a step too far?


Is North Korea’s use of chemical weapons in Malaysia a step too far?

The Telegraph, 24 February, 2017

The murder of Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur International Airport looked like it might be no more than an odd-ball story, destined for the various crank stories that typify reporting about North Korea.

True, the regime had orchestrated an assassination in another country (and at an airport, no less!) but he was a North Korean after all, and a member of the ruling family.

It swiftly became clear, after the heavy-handed bullying of Malaysia’s legal authorities by North Korea’s ambassador Kang Chol, that this was not going to blow over.

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The regime insisted on treating Malaysia – previously, one of its few diplomatic allies – as it treats everyone, lying, bullying, and making bizarre and insulting accusations, causing the relationship to nosedive.

The revelation that the nerve agent VX was used in a crowded international airport now threatens to tip the event into a regional crisis. It also raises the question of why Malaysia allowed itself to get so close to the pariah regime?

After all, North Korea is the only state that actively employs concentration camps to deal with its political prisoners. And yet, states like Malaysia continue to try and do business with the regime.

They even accept North Korean labourers – contracted out by the regime – to carry out difficult and dangerous mining operations.

In 2014, after a North Korean labourer was killed in a Malaysian mine, authorities defended the practice, with Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi, saying: “When it comes to industries such as coal mines, the jobs are very dangerous and tough. No local or Sarawakian will dare take up such jobs.”

He neglected to mention that North Koreans did the job because they had no choice. They are, in effect, slave labour.

Malaysia has already withdrawn its envoy to Pyongyang, but now with the news that North Korea used a chemical considered a weapon of mass destruction in their national airport, pressure is growing on the government to cut ties with the Stalinist regime.

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