‘LOUD AND CLEAR MES­SAGE’

AM­BAS­SADOR Kang Chol was ex­pelled to make North Korea un­der­stand that Malaysia is deadly se­ri­ous about solv­ing the mur­der of Kim Jong-nam, says the deputy prime min­is­ter. Mean­while, ex­perts be­lieve now is a good time to re­think the value of diplo­matic rel

New Straits Times - - Front Page - AVILA GERAL­DINE KOTA KINABALU avila@nst.com.my

MALAYSIA needed to send a “very loud and clear mes­sage” to North Korea that it was se­ri­ous about ad­dress­ing Kim Jong-nam’s mur­der.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said yes­ter­day this was one of the rea­sons why the cab­i­net de­clared North Korean am­bas­sador to Malaysia Kang Chol per­sona non grata and or­dered him to leave the coun­try within 48 hours.

He warned Py­ongyang not to ma­nip­u­late the is­sue, stress­ing that Malaysia had con­ducted its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the as­sas­si­na­tion of Jong-nam, the ex­iled half­brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in a pro­fes­sional man­ner based on sound ev­i­dence and in­tel­li­gence.

Zahid said North Korea needed to be open-minded and “learn to re­spect other coun­tries” when deal­ing with com­plex and sen­si­tive is­sues.

He said the mur­der was of in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est and the coun­try needed to look be­yond its agenda to han­dle the mat­ter.

“They have to re­spect our diplo­matic re­la­tion­ship. This is not about North Korean cit­i­zens alone... we need to look into the in­ter­ests of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

“They (North Korea) are not re­gard­ing this is­sue as an in­ter­na­tional is­sue but as a mat­ter per­ti­nent only to them, and I think North Korea has to learn to re­spect other coun­tries,” he said af­ter at­tend­ing a closed-door meet­ing with Sabah Umno lead­ers and mem­bers here.

The Foreign Min­istry had, on Satur­day, an­nounced that Kang would be given 48 hours from 6pm that day to leave the coun­try af­ter fail­ing to show up af­ter be­ing sum­moned by Wisma Pu­tra.

Among the rea­sons cited was Py­ongyang’s re­fusal to apol­o­gise for ac­cu­sa­tions it had hurled at Kuala Lumpur over the han­dling of the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

On the coun­try’s state of readi­ness to face any even­tu­al­ity should diplo­matic ties with Py­ongyang break down, Zahid said other na­tions, too, faced such is­sues with North Korea.

“We feel that, as an in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, we must co­op­er­ate with each other and not ag­gra­vate or ma­nip­u­late an is­sue.

“Their (North Korea’s) agenda is fo­cused on in­ter­nal mat­ters. They need to be out­ward-look­ing in­stead of in­ward-look­ing and this is some­thing they have to un­der­stand.”

Kang Chol

PIC BY ED­MUND SAMUNTING

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid

Hamidi at the Sabah Umno build­ing in Kota Kinabalu yes­ter­day.

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