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Malaysia cancels visa-free travel for North Koreans following Kim Jong Nam killing

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Posted at 11:33 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 23:36:32-05
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN) -- Malaysia will now require North Koreans to get a visa to travel to the country, the latest salvo in a diplomatic row that kicked off with the brazen public killing of Kim Jong Nam.
 
Bernama, Malaysia's state news agency, quoted Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that visas would be required from March 6.
 
Kim, the older half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed at an airport before he was supposed to board a flight to the Chinese controlled territory of Macau.
 
South Korea has pinned the death on Pyongyang, which strongly denies responsibility.
 
In response, North Korean state media blamed Seoul and Washington for "resorting to political chicanery to bring down the social system in the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)."
 
Two women have been charged with murder in the killing of Kim, who police said was killed by smearing VX, a deadly nerve agent, on his face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
 
Malaysia has also named four North Korean suspects who they believe are back in Pyongyang and three North Koreans wanted for questioning.
 
However, investigators say the North Koreans would not help make their citizens available and were impeding the investigation.
 
Malaysian nationals are currently the only people in the world who can enter North Korea without a visa.
 
CNN's Pamela Boykoff reported from Kuala Lumpur, while Joshua Berlinger reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Ben Westcott contributed to this report
 
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