Chinese envoy seeks to end diplomatic row

Chinese envoy seeks to end diplomatic row

KUALA LUMPUR: China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang has reiterated that he never had the intention to interfere with Malaysia’s domestic af­­fairs, in a bid to stem a developing diplomatic row arising from his remarks made in Petaling Street on Sept 25.

In a special briefing for mainly Man­­darin-speaking journalists, Dr Huang also cla­rified that up to now he had not received any official “summon” or “call-in” note from Wisma Putra – contrary to what had been reported in some newspapers.

“My statements were blown out of proportion. This controversy is causing a diplomatic row, and friction between Malaysian ministers. I don’t hope to see this happening as China and Malaysia are close friends and partners,” he said at the Chinese Embassy here yesterday.

He said his visit to Petaling Street or Chinatown and statements made there had been taken out of context and misinterpreted.

“The statements I made in Chinatown were sincere. I was hoping to tell the world, including Chinese tourists who were coming in the tens of thousands, that Malaysia was safe despite the threat of a race riot the next day,” he said.

Dr Huang said after meeting several ministers, all reached the consensus that the close bilateral ties between Malaysia and China should not be affected by this “isolated” incident.

During his 90-minute detailed explanation, Dr Huang said he had received enquiries on political stability in Malaysia with many asking whether he should is­­sue a travel alert to Chinese visitors, following the terror alert issued by the US and Australian missions on Jalan Alor.

“I had to check for myself whether the embassy should issue the alert too. I chose to go to Petaling Street because it is a cultural landmark and a favourite tourist spot for Chi­nese nationals.”

Dr Huang said he had chosen to visit China­town on Sept 25 to distribute moon cakes, partly to coincide with President Xi Jinping’s moon cake distribution in Seattle.

“My visit had nothing to do with race or colour. It was not complex and not political.”

He added that during the walkabout, he was met by reporters who were there to monitor the situation in Chinatown following the threat of a riot on Sept 26.

After the walkabout, a reporter asked Dr Huang a hypothetical question: “If there is a massive anti-Chinese riot in Malaysia, will the Chinese government interfere?”

“I told him I could only give a general and standard diplomatic reply without mentioning Malaysia. And I said: ‘The Chinese government has always pursued peaceful co-existence and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. But if such a situation occurs, and it affects Chinese interests, Chinese people and Chinese enterprises, undermine good diplomatic ties, China will not sit idle. For the past 66 years, our diplomats have been repeating this statement. It is our universal value.’

“I also said that we oppose extremism, racism and terrorism in any form. We also oppose any disruption to public order.”

Dr Huang said to help allay fears among Chinese nationals, he had stated Malaysia was a harmonious and stable country.

“This statement is meant for our Chinese nationals who thought Malaysia was anti-Chinese. My praise and judgment is much more powerful and forceful than any positive statement by a Malaysian.

“After my explanation today (yesterday), I believe people with logical thinking will not doubt my sincerity and goodwill anymore,” said Dr Huang.

-The Star Online