Southeast Asia Malaysia

North Korea to face Malaysia in Pyongyang next month

An Asian Cup qualifier between North Korea and Malaysia will be played in Pyongyang, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced Monday, despite strained ties over an assassination in Kuala Lumpur.

In February, the killing of Kim Jong Nam, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother, sparked a diplomatic row which saw both countries banning each other’s citizens from leaving and withdrawing their ambassadors.

The AFC says the match will now take place in the North Korean capital on 8 June, after Malaysian football officials have confirmed there are no longer travel restrictions from the government.

The travel ban was lifted in late March after a deal was struck involving the return of Kim’s body to North Korea.

The AFC had at that time said the match could take place at a neutral venue.

Malaysia had originally been due to play the match in Pyongyang on 28 March as a lead-up to the 2019 tournament in the United Arab Emirates.