Najib: Malaysia will not sever diplomatic ties with North Korea

CHENNAI: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says Malaysia will not cut diplomatic ties with North Korea as he considers the hostage crisis issue closed.

However, the Prime Minister said North Korea should never resort to unlawful action and go against international law and convention again, in an apparent reference to the assassination of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia, widely believed to have been ordered by the rogue regime.

"From the time negotiations began with North Korea, I made it very clear to our negotiators on two issues – that our nine hostages must come back safely, and that the sovereignty of Malaysia cannot be questioned by any quarter. Both conditions have been met, and that's the crux of the matter," the PM told Malaysian journalists covering his visit to India.

Najib revealed that the North Korean side had at first made demands that could not be met, and even contacted the Malaysian side in the wee hours of the morning.

Declining to reveal what the demands were, Najib said Malaysia held firm to its stand that the two North Korean suspects holed up in the embassy – second secretary Hyon Kwang-song and Air Koryo personnel Kim Uk-il – must be questioned and investigated by police before they could be released.

"We have achieved that objective. This is what is required by the law,'' he said, confirming that the North Korean duo were allowed to leave Malaysia.

Asked whether he had at any time contacted the top North Korean leadership over the crisis, Najib said he had only been in touch with the Malaysian hostages and the others involved.

The Prime Minister praised the released Malaysian hostages for their courage and faith all along, adding that he was grateful that they had been reunited with their families.