Wisma Putra imposes travel ban to North Korea

Malaysia to ban citizens from visiting North Korea

The ban also covers the Malaysian soccer team's trip to Pyongyang for an Oct 5 match, deputy foreign minister Rizal Merican Naina Merican said.

Ties between Malaysia and North Korea have soured since the killing of Kim's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, in February.

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 ban is as a result of the rising tensions due to North Korea nuclear and missile development programme.

"AFC via Datuk Windsor in its letter of reply to FAM this evening had agreed to make a decision that a match between North Korea and Malaysia would not be played in Pyongyang on that date", he said.

As I have noted before, though global attention on Malaysia's relationship with North Korea have tended to focus on discrete events, with a recent case in point being the diplomatic row that resulted following the death of Kim Jong-un's estranged half-brother Kim Jong-nam, the so-called "special relationship" between the two sides has often been poorly understood (See: "The Myth of a Malaysia-North Korea Special Relationship").

The Asian Football Confederation said in a statement it will have to decide on the future status of the match. Though the move, which was far from surprising, immediately led to a flood of headlines, it needs to be understood within the broader context of Malaysia's ties with North Korea and ongoing developments affecting both sides.

Malaysia's Portuguese coach Nelo Vingada, who has failed to win any of his four games in charge, will now focus on the Asian Cup qualifier away to Hong Kong on October 10.

It added that the travel ban will be reviewed once the situation has returned to normal, reports Efe news.

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