NE­GO­TI­A­TIONS WILL HAP­PEN ‘WHEN TIME COMES’, SAYS PM

Na­jib says he will make an­nounce­ment once there are new up­dates

New Straits Times - - News -

ADRIAN LAI

KUALA LUMPUR adri­an­lai@nst.com.my

MALAYSIA will con­duct for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tions “when the time comes” to free the re­main­ing nine Malaysians stranded in North Korea, Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said yesterday.

He re­it­er­ated that the nine were safe and that there was no rea­son to worry about their well­be­ing.

The prime min­iste er, how­ever, de­clined to co om­ment on whether in­for rmal ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Malaysia and North Korea had al­ready taken place here.

“I will make an an­nounc ement onc ee there are new up­date es (on the ne­go­ti­a­tions),ns) ” Na­jib said at the Par­lia­ment lobby here.

The two coun­tries have been em­broiled in a diplo­matic spat over the Feb 13 killing in klia2 of Kim Jong-nam, the es­tranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Thee in­ci­dent sparked a dipllo­matic stand-off, as booth coun­tries slapped travel bans on each other’s cit­i­zens, and ex­pelled the other’s am­bas­sadors.

Na­jib, how­ever, de­fused the ten­sion aafter mak­ing it clear thhat Malaysia would not se­v­er­se­ver ties with the reclu­sive state.

For­eign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman had said on Satur­day that North Korea had in- di­cated it was ready to start ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“They want to start talk­ing. We do not know what their de­mands are... we need to fig­ure out what we can do to get the best re­sults,” he had said.

Ani­fah had also said many coun­tries had of­fered to me­di­ate be­tween the two, but that “no coun­try will act as a third party” or me­di­a­tor.

Jong-nam, who had been liv­ing in Ma­cau and had been known to crit­i­cise his fam­ily’s regime, was killed us­ing the highly lethal VX nerve agent.

The chem­i­cal is clas­si­fied by the United Na­tions as a weapon of mass de­struc­tion.

BER­NAMA PIC

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak at the Par­lia­ment lobby in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

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