Malaysia severs direct diplomatic ties with Pyongyang — Anifah

(File Photo) Anifah Aman speaking to the media after the closed-door meeting. — Bernama photo

KOTA SAMARAHAN: Malaysia will not be sending its ambassador again to Pyongyang, North Korea at this moment.

Instead, the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, China will be empowered to handle the country’s diplomatic matters with North Korea.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Wisma Putra will be seeking the cabinet’s approval to accredit the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing with such powers.

“At the moment, there will be no ambassador to be sent to Pyongyang. It will be handled from Beijing,” he told reporters here yesterday after a talk at Detar Putra, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

Anifah was asked to elaborate a point he made in the talk when he said a cabinet paper was being prepared to accredit Malaysian Embassy in Beijing to handle diplomatic matters with North Korea.

Malaysians have recently been banned from travelling to North Korea.

Tension between Malaysia and North Korea escalated after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s estranged half brother was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) in February.

After the incident, Malaysia recalled its ambassador to North Korea as Wisma Putra summoned Pyongyang’s ambassador to Malaysia following his strong criticism against the government.

On another matter, Anifah said Bangladesh has welcomed the idea of setting up a field hospital by Malaysia to handle Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

He revealed that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would be going to Bangladesh this Sunday (Oct 15) for further discussion on this matter.

He, however, did not want to elaborate further as he preferred the honour to be given to the Deputy Prime Minister to make the announcement.

During the talk, Anifah revealed the plan to set up the field hospital to help Bangladesh provide medical aid to the Rohingya refugees, while stressing that Malaysia’s position on the Rohingya issue has been consistent.

“We believe that the matter is no longer a domestic conflict. Recent experience shows that if not addressed, it will result in a full-blown regional humanitarian crisis resulting in hundreds of thousands more fleeing Myanmar in fear of persecution,” he had said during the talk.

When asked about the United States visa waiver programme for Malaysia, Anifah said Malaysia is stlll working on achieving this which may require amendments to certain legislations.

He said Malaysia has met six of the seven conditions laid out by the US.

“I’m not too overly concerned on the visa waiver as it is still quite reasonable. We  have yet to fulfil certain conditions because I think there are certain legislations that we need to amend… We will look and see,” he said.

The visa waiver programme for Malaysia, mooted during talks between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the then US president Barack Obama in April 2014, would enable Malaysians to enter and stay in the US without a visa for a maximum of 90 days for tourism and business.

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