Malaysia open to dialogue for peaceful solutions, says Zahid
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.
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.