Malaysia open to di­a­logue for peace­ful so­lu­tions, says Zahid

New Straits Times - - News / Story Of The Day -

Malaysia is open to a di­a­logue with North Korea to find peace­ful so­lu­tions to the brew­ing di­plo­matic ten­sion be­tween the two coun­tries.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi yes­ter­day echoed Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak’s de­ci­sion to not sever ties with the reclu­sive na­tion de­spite the es­ca­lat­ing di­plo­matic row.

“I think we should re­solve the mat­ter am­i­ca­bly,” he said af­ter a prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony for a his­tor­i­cal novel writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion at De­wan Ba­hasa dan Pus­taka (DBP) here.

On whether talks with Py­ongyang had be­gun, Zahid said: “Their del­e­ga­tion is here in town, not back in Py­ongyang yet.”

“Wisma Pu­tra will be dis­cussing with them to re­solve mat­ters am­i­ca­bly,” he added.

When asked if Malaysia is now on high alert, Zahid said it was im­por­tant to main­tain di­plo­matic re­la­tion­ship with North Korea.

“It de­pends on the threat, but we be­lieve they are go­ing to act ra­tio­nally and what is im­por­tant is for us to main­tain our di­plo­matic re­la­tion­ship with them.

“I think what is im­por­tant is the se­cu­rity of our cit­i­zens in Py­ongyang and I think they are also very con­cerned about the se­cu­rity of their cit­i­zens here,” he said.

Di­plo­matic ties be­tween Malaysia and North Korea had strained fol­low­ing the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the es­tranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at klia2 last month.

The reclu­sive gov­ern­ment had crit­i­cised Malaysia’s han­dling of the case and had on Tues­day barred Malaysians in North Korea from leav­ing the coun­try — a move that prompted Na­jib to an­nounce that all North Kore­ans in Malaysia would not be al­lowed to leave the coun­try.

At the event, Zahid lauded DBP’s ef­fort in turn­ing his­tor­i­cal facts into nov­els and urged the nov­els to be trans­lated into English.

“Mak­ing nov­els based on his­tor­i­cal facts is a good ap­proach and it should in­ter­na­tion­alised.

“The nov­els should not be made avail­able only to lo­cals but to the rest of the world, pro­vided they are of high stan­dards and qual­ity so the work could thrive in the mar­ket space,” he said.

PIC BY MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi pre­sent­ing prizes to the win­ners of a his­tor­i­cal novel writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion at De­wan Ba­hasa dan Pus­taka in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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