Malaysia will not break off ties with North Korea: PM

Maintaining ties provides a path to secure release of detained Malaysians, says Najib Razak

Malaysia will not break off ties with North Korea: PM

World Bulletin / News Desk

Prime Minister Najib Razak said Wednesday that Malaysia will not break off diplomatic ties with North Korea as they provide a way to work for the release of 11 Malaysians detained in Pyongyang.

Razak said the government will negotiate with the North Korean government to find the roots of the diplomatic dispute following last month’s murder in Kuala Lumpur of the estranged brother of the north’s leader.

"At the moment, diplomatic ties are still on because they provide us with a channel to talk and negotiate with” North Korea, he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia will use various strategies to negotiate with Pyongyang, said Razak, but declined to give details due to concerns for the safety of the detainees.

"The welfare of our Malaysian citizens is of utmost important, so it's best to conduct the plan in secrecy," he explained.

Razak also declined to comment on whether Malaysia would seek Chinese help to resolve the crisis.

On North Korea's refusal to allow the Malaysians to leave, Razak said the government was surprised as Malaysia is one of only a few countries which maintain friendly ties with Pyongyang.

"We didn't pick a quarrel with them and it was never our intention... but when a crime has been committed in the country especially using chemical weapons, we are duty bound to protect the interest and safety of Malaysians," he said.

Najib said the National Security Council yesterday was briefed on the detainees’ welfare and told that they can carry out their lives normally despite being grounded.

North Korean state media reported yesterday that the country has banned all Malaysian citizens from leaving the country and are potentially being held as hostage.

This came after North Korean Ambassador Kang Chol left Malaysia Monday after failing to apologize for accusations that Malaysia was obstructing the investigation on the killing of Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-il’s brother.

Kang remained steadfast on his country's unverified conclusion that Jong-nam died of a heart attack, not a VX nerve agent as found by the police and health authorities.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Mart 2017, 11:16