Malaysia bars citizens from travelling to North Korea as tensions rise in the Korean peninsula

Donald Trump warns North Korea of 'devastating' consequences if US uses military optionReuters

Malaysia has imposed a ban on its citizens from travelling to North Korea, citing increasing tensions in the region. The foreign ministry said the ban will be in place until further announcement.

Malaysia's announcement is latest in a series of measures targeting North Korea in recent months owing to the rogue nation's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. Although the reclusive nation has been banned from conducting nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, the North has been defying it regularly, sparking international condemnation.

Global powers have been struggling to put more pressure such as travel ban and economic sanctions on the hermit kingdom to scale down its weapons activities.

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In the latest, Kuala Lumpur said the ban was announced because of the "escalation of tensions" in the Korean peninsula, on Thursday, 28 September.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hereby informs the public that all Malaysians are banned from travelling to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [North Korea] until further notice. The travel ban will be reviewed once the situation has returned to normal," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The travel ban means the region's football governing body is forced to postpone a match between Malaysia and North Korea. The Asia Cup qualifier match was scheduled to take place on 5 October in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

"The AFC [Asian Football Confederation] will now refer the matter to the appropriate committees to decide on the future status of this match," the Malaysia-based sports body said in a statement.

Malaysia and North Korea enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations until the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was assassinated at the Kuala Lumpur airport. The murder of Kim Jong-nam has set off a diplomatic tussle since February 2017.

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