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Malaysians in North Korea have been temporarily banned from leaving the country, state media in Pyongyang reported on Tuesday, amid an escalating spat over the death of Kim Jong Nam.

The move was aimed at securing the safety of its citizens in Malaysia, according to the Korean Central News Agency report.

Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un, was killed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport last month.

The murder, widely believed to have been instigated by Pyongyang, sparked a wider diplomatic row between Malaysian and North Korean authorities. On Monday, Pyongyang’s ambassador was expelled from the Southeast Asian nation.

According to KCNA, Malaysia’s embassy in Pyongyang has been informed of the exit ban.

It was unclear whether citizens from other nations were affected.

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