Najib: M'sians in N. Korea safe, secret diplomacy to continue

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017

Najib talking to reporters at Parliament lobby on Wednesday

KUALA LUMPUR: The 11 Malaysians in North Korea are safe and can go about their daily activities, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister told reporters at Parliament lobby that the National Security Council meeting on Tuesday had concluded that there was no need to isolate the Malaysians who had been barred from leaving Pyongyang.

Najib added that Malaysia would not sever ties with North Korea as it was important to keep channel of communication open.

"At the moment it's (bilateral ties between the countries) still on because it provides us with a channel. Because you need to have a channel to talk to them, to negotiate with them.

"In the meantime, we need to examine what is the need of the North Korean government. That is what we have to be sure of.

"But for now we will stick to our decision to not allow North Koreans here to leave the country," he said, adding that the police have also been directed to continue with investigations into the death of Kim Jong-nam.

Najib said the authorities were still waiting for the body to be identified as no one has come forward to provide a DNA sample or identify the body.

On whether Malaysia would seek China's help over the current crisis, Najib said he could not disclose any details.

"The welfare of our Malaysian citizens is of utmost importance and sometimes (any talks) are best conducted in secrecy," he said.

Diplomatic ties between Malaysia and North Korea have soured since the murder of Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aisyah have been charged with the murder.

Neither recorded a plea, and April 13 has been set for mention.

North Korea has criticised Malaysia's handling of the case and on Tuesday announced its decision to temporarily ban Malaysians in North Korea from leaving the country.

A few hours after Pyongyang's announcement, Najib announced that all North Koreans in Malaysia would not be allowed to leave the country.

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