KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia said it expelled North Korea’s ambassador on Saturday for refusing to apologize for his strong accusations over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the killing of the North Korean leader’s half brother.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a notice was sent to the North Korean Embassy at 6 p.m. declaring Ambassador Kang Chol must leave Malaysia within 48 hours.

Earlier in the week, Malaysia demanded that North Korea apologize for Kang’s accusations over the investigation into the Feb. 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, including that “the Malaysian government had something to hide and that Malaysia has colluded with outside powers to defame” North Korea, Anifah said in a statement.

He said that no apology had come and none appeared forthcoming, and that North Korean Embassy officials also failed to turn up for a meeting Saturday at the foreign ministry, so Malaysia decided to expel the ambassador.

“It should be made clear – Malaysia will react strongly against any insults made against it or any attempt to tarnish its reputation,” Anifah said.

The death of Kim, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has unleashed a diplomatic battle between Malaysia and North Korea.