Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chinese ambassador called to verify statements, says Anifah Aman

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said calling in the Chinese ambassador to Wisma Putra was to seek clarification on the latter's remarks at Petaling Street.

Anifah said the aim was also to clarify if the statement that Dr Huang Huikang made had been misinterpreted or otherwise.

"This is not the first time an ambassador has been called by Wisma Putra. Wisma Putra has done the same with the American and Vatican ambassadors and Singapore High Commissioner in the past.

"The aim of the meeting was to seek a clarification from him about the statement he made during his visit to Petaling Street.

"Wisma Putra asked him to verify if his statement had been misinterpreted or otherwise," said Anifah in a statement from New York where he is attending the UN general assembly.

On Friday, ambassador Dr Huang was quoted as saying that China was against those who resort to violence to disrupt public order, an obvious reference to the threat by a group to hold demonstration in Petaling Street.

"The Chinese government opposes terrorism and any form of discrimination against races and any form of extremism,” Dr Huang told reporters.

Dr Huang also warned that Beijing would not fear voicing out against incidents, which threaten the interests of the country, infringe upon the rights of its citizens in doing business, or disrupt the relationship between Malaysia and China.

Anifah said that the calling of an ambassador to Wisma Putra was a normal practice in line with Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.

"As a sovereign nation, we also have to convey our position to China clearly. In this matter, after discussions with the Prime Minister, I decided to call the Chinese ambassador to be present at Wisma Putra to give an explanation.

"I was also of the opinion that the issue does not need to be brought to the ministerial level because as a usual practice, it is handled by senior Wisma Putra officers," added Anifah.

He said that it was regrettable that several Cabinet ministers had issued press statements and taken action without referring to him first.

"I have never cancelled my instructions to call the Chinese ambassador to Wisma Putra to give his explanation. This matter could have been solved well by Wisma Putra without the interference of other ministers.

"Conversely, their interference has created a negative perception in the eyes of the public. I hope such matters will not be repeated in the future," said Anifah.

It was reported that a meeting took place Sunday night between Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz and Dr Huang.

The Chinese daily published a photo showing Nazri sitting opposite Huang at a rectangular dinner table, along with five other unidentified persons.

It reported that after the meeting, Nazri explained the envoy's dilemma to his fellow Cabinet colleagues, who agreed that  Dr Huang need not explain himself to Wisma Putra.

Nazri added that only the Prime Minister or the Foreign Minister had the authority to summon an ambassador.

Both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Anifah are out of the country in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

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