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Najib's calmness, Malaysia's non-aligned policy - recipes for solving diplomatic row

Najib's calmness, Malaysia's non-aligned policy - recipes for solving diplomatic row
Yesterday, nine Malaysian citizens held 'hostage' in North Korea were finally allowed to return home safely, bringing to an end the 46-day souring of diplomatic ties between the two nations. Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Any conflict with North Korea cannot be easily solved even by superpower countries, according to an international political analyst.

In fact, a country in conflict with North Korea will probably spend a long time at the discussion table because any probability to reach a solution to the crisis in a short period of time has been deemed impossible.

In response to the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which had triggered the diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea, Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Malaysia's non-alignment policy was seen as the one of the recipes for success in efforts to solve the diplomatic row between the two nations in such a short period of time.

The case was also deemed highly sensitive and had to be solved in a diplomatic manner, he said.

"Not all countries have a good relations with North Korea and the move taken by Malaysia was the most apt for a non-aligned country, without having to bow to super power countries like the United States or China.

"Malaysia's foreign policy of being non-aligned but firm in addressing various international issues had actually caused North Korea to find it difficult to refuse diplomatic talks and negotiations to solve the conflict," he told Bernama here.

Awang Azman said the good relations between Malaysia and North Korea was established during the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein's tenure as the Prime Minister.

Malaysia was also the first country to give visa exemption to North Koreans and vice versa in 2009, before the facility was revoked on March 2 this year for safety reasons.

"Whatever the perception on the Malaysia-North Korea crisis, it is still a fact that the two countries has enjoyed a good relationship over the past 44 years," he said.

Meanwhile, he said the calm attitude of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had obviously helped in ensuring good solution to the Jong-nam issue.

""His calmness in addressing the issue rationally and ensuring a win-win situation for both countries should be commended.

The tension between Malaysia and North Korea arose in the wake of the murder of Jong-nam in Malaysia on Feb 13.

The diplomatic spat erupted after North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol made baseless allegations against Malaysia over the handling of the case, resulting in Malaysia declaring him persona non grata and ordering him to leave within 48 hours.

The ambassador left Kuala Lumpur on March 6.

North Korea retaliated by expelling Malaysian Ambassador in Pyongyang. On March 7, North Korea prohibited Malaysians in that country from leaving North Korea and Malaysia also took similar action against North Koreans in this country.

Yesterday, nine Malaysian citizens held 'hostage' in North Korea were finally allowed to return home safely, bringing to an end the 46-day souring of diplomatic ties between the two nations. -- Bernama