KUALA LUMPUR – March 7, 2017: South Koreans living here agree that Malaysia has done the most patriotic thing in handling the diplomatic row with North Korea.
At the same time they find it strange that some Malaysians are bashing their own government in social media for wanting to protect and uphold the country’s sovereignty.
The government was heavily criticised by some Malaysians after North Korea barred Malaysians from leaving its soil following the expulsion of its envoy Kang Chol yesterday.
The government had swiftly retaliated with similar action against North Koreans in Malaysia.
“Was it the smartest decision? Who knows? But to me it was the most patriotic decision that any sovereign country would have done if it was in Malaysia’s shoes,” remarked South Korean Yun Min-Woo
Yun was met by The Mole at an area known as Little Korea in Ampang today.
“I was shocked when I read some of the nasty comments written by my Malaysian friends towards the government,” he said.
The 36-year-old who works as a communication officer in Bangsar said that no self-respecting government should bow to the demands of North Korea as the country was never known for being fair and just.
“Kim Jong Un (North Korean leader) does not listen to other views aside from his. You give in to even one of his demands and he will keep asking for more,” said Yun, adding that he cheered for the Malaysian government when it expelled Kang Chol.
Kang Chol had, since the start of the bilateral tensions, spoken critically against Malaysia especially when it insisted on proceeding with an autopsy on the remains of Jong Un’s estranged half-brother Kim Jong Nam.
Jong Nam was believed to have been poisoned to death when he was waiting for flight to Macau at the KL International Airport 2 on February 13.
Despite some Malaysians arguing in social media that the government should have given in to North Korea’s demand to not do an autopsy and hand over Jong Nam’s remains, a South Korean housewife from Ampang begged to differ.
Ji Seul Ki, who used to be a history teacher in Seoul, contended that to simply hand over Jong Nam’s remains to North Korea would send a world-wide message that Malaysia is a weak country.
“Indeed Malaysia is a small country but does it want others to know that it can be bullied by bigger countries?” Ji rhetorically asked.
“Also, if it did what it was asked to do then the Malaysian government is indirectly telling the whole world that it is okay to assassinate a high-profile figure on Malaysian soil if you have a bigger army than us (Malaysia),” she added.
Currently a total of 11 Malaysians, who are mostly staff of the Malaysian embassy in Pyongyang and their family members, were reported to be stranded at Pyongyang airport due to the ban.
According to North Korea’s state-run news agency, the Malaysians were temporarily prohibited from leaving the country until the incident that happened in Malaysia is properly solved.
On whether or not North Korea will execute the stranded Malaysians if things go south, a petroleum engineering student Shin Min Seong thinks that when it comes to Jong Un, murder is always a possibility.
“The Malaysian government was very brave to say no to North Korea’s demands but if it really wants to save those stranded in North Korea, then they have to thoroughly plan their next move.
“Trust me. Jong Un has publicly executed other North Koreans and I assure you that he will have no qualms about killing foreigners,” said Shin.
That said, those who are against the government continue to accuse it of jeopardising Malaysians’ safety by not giving in to the demands.
“Just give them the body. As it is, Malaysians are already burdened with the rising cost of living and now you want to put us through war?” was the criticism from Facebooker Addie Aman.
“Enough talk about sovereignty, we have lost it the day Najib became our prime minister,” he added.
“Has the government realised that they have messed with the wrong country in the first place? That is what you get for trying to act so tough. There are always bigger thugs out there,” wrote Ernest Kat.
“The government should say sorry to them (North Korean government) and only then will this problem be solved immediately,” wrote Tan Kak Qui.
They however, were countered by those who are supportive of the government over the Malaysia-North Korea row.
“Seriously? You guys still have the time to make fun of our government? Set aside your hatred towards Najib, we need to support Wisma Putra (Foreign Ministry) in this issue,” wrote Ehsan Zolkifly.
“I can see a lot of other foreigners are rooting for our country but some Malaysians are doing the opposite. These people should be sent to North Korea,” wrote Abu Muadz Ghazali.
“Please be sensible during these trying times. Stop making useless comments. Making fun of the government in this current situation will only show your level of intellect,” wrote Morris Unong Legam.