KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia was pragmatic in its handling of the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the diplomatic fallout which followed.
Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican told the Dewan Negara today that as a result of Malaysia’s prudent diplomatic approach, there was no need for a third party to intervene in the issue.
"In Jong-nam's case, we did not see a need to use a mediator. We just did direct negotiations.
"(We made prudent decision on our own). Nobody decides who we should befriend or who we should not befriend,” Reezal said in reply to a supplementary question from Senator Tan Sri S. Nallakarupan on why a mediator was not used.
Reezal went on to say that Malaysia’s level-headed approach to the crisis with North Korea earned it the respect of many Asean countries, who came forward to offer assistance.
He said among the nations that came to our aid was Indonesia, whose embassy helped the nine Malaysians while they were detained at Pyongyang’s airport while stranded in the hermit kingdom.
"The embassies of Pakistan and the European Union were also helpful.
"This is the advantage we have, thanks to our experience in pragmatism in diplomatic relations.
"(Through this, we were also able to) ensure the safe return of our countrymen, to bring them home safe and sound," he added.
Reezal had earlier told the upper house that the nine Malaysians in Pyongyang had received support and assistance from the foreign missions of Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia, among others.