Negotiations ongoing to secure the release of Malaysians in North Korea, says Malaysia's Attorney-General

Members of a Malaysian youth NGO calling for peace and diplomatic cooperation outside the gates of the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur on March 10, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) -Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will decide on the approach to be adopted to secure the release of the nine Malaysians still stranded in North Korea, said Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali on Monday (March 13), as negotiations continue between the two countries.

He said talks to bring home the nine Malaysians were underway but declined to elaborate.

"We don't want anything to jeopardise the ongoing negotiations ... this is a very sensitive issue. The positive thing is that negotiations are still ongoing," he said.

"However, I don't know the details of the negotiations," he told reporters.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries have soured over the assassination of North Korean Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Feb 13.

North Korea has criticised Malaysia's handling of the investigation, and has even accused it of being part of a conspiracy against the hermit nation.

Tensions escalated on March 7 when North Korea barred all 11 Malaysians there from leaving the country, effectively turning them into hostages.

Two of them, Stella Lim and Nyanaprakash Muniandy of the United Nations' World Food Programme, got out of Pyongyang and reached Beijing on March 9.

Malaysia issued a similar ban for the 315 North Koreans still in the country.

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