KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is set to reopen its embassy in Pyongyong, North Korea as a means to re-establish its relationship with the republic.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this when asked about the status of their mission there which is in somewhat of a limbo.
“Yes, we will reopen the embassy,” he told the Nikkei Asian Review on the sidelines of the Future of Asia 2018 conference in Tokyo, yesterday.
The Malaysian embassy in North Korea has not been staffed since April 2017, following a diplomatic spat that ensued after the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2).
Malaysia had also said it was considering to permanently close its embassy in Pyongyang and relocate its North Korea services to its Beijing mission.
Meanwhile on the US-North Korea Summit, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia should not be skeptical of North Korea’s sincerity in its negotiations with the US, as suspicions would inhibit the collaboration.
“We should take North Korea at face value and get it to participate in international negotiations to moderate the rigid attitude it had before.
“We should take it as genuine, and try to establish a good relation including a trade relation with North Korea,” he told the Japanese business journal while drawing on aspersions cast on the newfound cordiality the countries had come to enjoy.
On Tuesday US President Donald Trump and Jong-Un shook hands and smiled as they started a historic summit in Singapore, just months after they traded insults and threats of nuclear war.
Dr Mahathir affirmed that North Korea has a right to have some of its interests upheld as much as the US does.
“If North Korea promises to abandon nuclear weapons, there will be less tension. Pyongyang cannot waste money on war gestures as if it is going to war. It is spending far too much money on the armed forces because of its fear for the Americans and South Koreans,” he added.
Asked about his views on Trump, Dr Mahathir reiterated his previous statements that Trump was difficult to understand as he was fickle.
“So we really cannot make any assessment on his policies because he changes his mind. Sometimes, he says one thing and then changes and changes back. That makes it difficult for us to understand whatever policies he proposes.”- New Straits Times