KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Saturday (Aug 6) that criticism by its envoy to China against US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan isn’t the official position of the Malaysian government.
Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, the Malaysian Prime Minister’s special envoy to China, on Friday said Mrs Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan added fuel to regional instability.
Mr Tiong in a statement quoted by Malaysiakini news said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war are not over yet and the world is working hard to revive the economy and maintain peace.
“At this critical time, we need to do everything in our power to maintain stability and avoid any moves that would cause division,” he said.
Mr Tiong added: “On the one hand, they (the United States) condemn Russia, protest Russian aggression against Ukraine, and call for Ukraine’s sovereignty, but on the other hand, they intend to interfere in the internal affairs of the Taiwan Strait region and use Taiwan to divide China.
“Malaysia hopes the situation will ease as soon as possible and we urge the US to deal with the matter with caution,” he said.
Mr Tiong said Taiwan is an inalienable part of China and that Malaysia adheres to the ‘One China’ principle, and that only Beijing should represent all parts of China.
“The government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government representing the whole of China and supports the peaceful development and harmonious coexistence of cross-strait relations.”
Asked for his response to Mr Tiong’s statement, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin said those remarks were not in line with the discussions held at his ministry, called Wisma Putra in Malaysia.
“That is not the statement that was discussed in Wisma Putra,” Mr Saifuddin told reporters after attending an event on Saturday.
“I have made my views known while we were attending the Asean foreign ministers meeting held at Phnom Penh on Aug 3 where myself and other foreign ministers agreed that we should issue a statement as Asean (on the Taiwan situation),” he said.
“Basically, in the statement, we were talking about the need to ensure the region remained peaceful and that we uphold the ‘One China’ principle,” Mr Saifuddin added, as quoted by Malaysiakini.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Mr Saifuddin met on Wednesday with Mrs Pelosi in Kuala Lumpur when she and her delegation visited Malaysia, prior to flying into Taipei.
Asean called on Thursday for restraint following heightened tensions after Mrs Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, and warned of the risk of miscalculations and confrontation among major powers.