China hopes KL, Pyongyang will resolve dispute amicably
SEPANG: China hopes that the tensions between Malaysia and North Korea can be resolved amicably.
The sentiment was conveyed by Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang yesterday.
“We wish Malaysia and North Korea can resolve their problems in a friendly manner. It is a very good wish,” he said, but declined to comment further.
Huang said this after his visit to the Xiamen University Malaysia Campus, where he presented the 2016 Chinese Ambassador Scholarship award.
Relations between Malaysia and North Korea soured recently in the aftermath of the Feb 13 assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged and exiled halfbrother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
As investigators probed into the murder, North Korea’s then ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol, made disparaging remarks against the country and Malaysian police.
He had questioned the integrity of the investigation and postmortem examination, and accused Malaysia of colluding with South Korea and the United States.
Malaysia eventually declared him persona non grata and gave him 48 hours to leave the country as he had refused to apologise for the remarks.
Pyongyang retaliated by expelling the Malaysian ambassador, then took it a step further by barring Malaysians in North Korea from leaving the country.
In response, Malaysia did the same for North Koreans residing here.
Eleven Malaysians were known to have been in North Korea at the time — nine embassy staff and family members and two who were part of a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) mission there.
The two WFP workers, however, have since been allowed to leave and are in Beijing.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had, on Wednesday, ruled out severing ties with North Korea.
He sought instead to secure the release of the Malaysians in Pyongyang.