World

KL to call on allies if war breaks out with North Korea

Malaysian Defence Minister talks of war scenario

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia has enough allies to fight North Korea if the situation demands it, says Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday, he said Malaysia has its own advantages, and would be able to move forward in a situation such as war with North Korea.

"We can't fight a country like North Korea on our own, which focuses so much on its defence assets.

"But we have our advantages which would allow us to move forward… don't think we are only dependent on our own assets. That said, it's better if we don't go there," he said.

Mr Hishammuddin cited as an example the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, and pointed to how 26 countries had stepped forward to help with search and rescue operations, reported The Star.

"That is our advantage, so don't worry so much about the assets in our country," he said.

He added that the death of Mr Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13 was not as big as many other ongoing international issues.

"You need to look at this with a fair viewpoint," he said.

Mr Kim's murder has put the two countries at loggerheads. Malaysia has expelled North Korea's ambassador and has recalled its own envoy from Pyongyang.

North Korea has barred Malaysian citizens from leaving the country, and nine Malaysians are still stranded there. Malaysia has responded with a similar ban on North Koreans.

Japan reportedly provided Malaysia with fingerprint data and other information on Mr Kim needed for the investigation into his murder, reported The Straits Times.

The fingerprint and other data, including physical characteristics like mugshots, were obtained when the Japanese immigration officials detained Mr Kim in 2001 at Narita International Airport after he tried to enter the country on a false passport, Kyodo news agency quoted sources as saying on Sunday.

He had told the Japanese authorities then that he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

The information is believed to have helped Malaysian investigators conclusively establish the victim's identity.

Mr Kim's next of kin has not turned up in Malaysia to provide DNA samples for identification.

Kyodo said the disclosure marked the first time that Japan's assistance in the case has come to light

The United States and other countries are also believed to have been involved in the probe or assisted in the protection of his family members amid fears that they might be targeted by North Korea, said the news agency.

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