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Timeline – The unravelling of ties between North Korea and Malaysia

North Korea barred Malaysians from leaving the country on Tuesday, sparking tit-for-tat action by Malaysia, as police investigating the murder of Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur sought to question three men hiding in the North Korean embassy.

Following is a chronology of ties between the two countries.

1973 – Malaysia and North Korea establish diplomatic ties.

1995 – Malaysia hosts talks between the United States and North Korea over freezing North Korea’s nuclear programme.

2009 – Malaysia becomes first country whose citizens are allowed to travel to North Korea without a visa. North Koreans get the same privilege.

2011 – North Korea’s state airline, Air Koryo, opens a route to Malaysia to attract more tourists.

2013 – Malaysia’s HELP university confers an honorary doctorate degree on North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un.

Feb 13 – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, is murdered at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Feb 15 – U.S. government believes North Korean agents were behind the murder, U.S. government source says.

Feb 15 – China had been protecting Kim Jong Nam, according to South Korea’s spy agency.

Feb 15 – North Korea’s leader had “standing order” to kill Kim Jong Nam, South Korean lawmaker says quoting Seoul’s intelligence agency.

Feb 16 – Malaysian police arrest Vietnamese and Indonesian women in murder case.

Feb 19 – Malaysian police say four North Korean suspects left the country the same day of the murder.

Feb 20 – North Korean ambassador says Malaysia trying to delay release of victim’s body for “political aim”, says police investigation cannot be trusted.

Feb 22 – Malaysia identifies North Korean embassy official, employee of state airline among suspects.

Feb 22- Malaysia says no family members of Kim Jong Nam have come forward to identify body or give DNA samples.

Feb 23 – North Korea blames Malaysia, South Korea for death of one of its citizens.

Feb 24 – Police say VX nerve agent, a chemical the U.N. classifies as a weapon of mass destruction, was used to assassinate Kim Jong Nam.

Feb 26 – Malaysia declares Kuala Lumpur International Airport a “safe zone” after completing decontamination sweep.

Feb 27 – South Korean lawmaker says airport assassins were from North Korea’s ministry of state security and the foreign ministry.

March 1 – Malaysia charges Indonesian and Vietnamese with Kim Jong Nam’s murder.

March 2 – North Korea says heart attack likely killed airport victim.

March 4 – Malaysia rejects suggestions it may have violated U.N. sanctions after a Reuters report said North Korea-linked firms were running an arms network in the country.

March 4 – Malaysia deports North Korean suspect in Kim Jong Un’s murder, saying it had insufficient evidence to charge him.

March 6 – Malaysia cancels visa waiver programme.

March 6 – Malaysia expels North Korean ambassador Kang Chol.

March 6 – Malaysia asks that an Asian Cup football qualifier against North Korea be moved from Pyongyang to a neutral venue.

(Reporting by Bill Tarrant)