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06KUALALUMPUR1958 2006-10-17 09:27:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kuala Lumpur
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1. (C) We delivered ref B points to Malaysia's Foreign
Ministry on October 16 and Polcouns followed up with the
Under Secretary for Multilateral Political Affairs Shahrul
Ikram on October 17. With Shahrul, Polcouns discussed the
nature of the sanctions and emphasized the importance of
international adherence. Despite Malaysia's general
inclination to oppose sanctions measures, Shahrul said
Malaysia recognized the need to respond firmly to North
Korea's provocative action and the GOM of course would abide
by UNSCR 1718. Shahrul commented that the resolution
contained many qualifying words and phrases, and would
require interpretation. The GOM was not yet sure how 1718
would be implemented. Malaysia continued to see China and
secondarily Russia as key to the North Korea issue. Shahrul
reiterated his Minister's public comments (below) that
sanctions on North Korea would not have a great impact on
Malaysia because their bilateral trade was minimal. Shahrul
offered that the UNSC decision on North Korea sanctions would
have resonance for the issue of Iran's nuclear program.

2. (U) Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, in comments to
reporters October 16, emphasized the UN sanctions would have
little effect on Malaysia given the low trade volume with
North Korea. Hamid also reiterated Malaysia's general
disapproval of the use of sanctions. According to the state
news agency Bernama, Hamid said, "Malaysia does not believe
in sanctions because the people will suffer.... (The
sanctions) make it almost impossible to do trade with North
Korea. I do not know if this will help bring about a
resolution, but the sanctions are very hard." The Bernama
report referenced a July 2006 Memorandum of Understanding
between Malaysia and North Korea covering a $20 million
credit facility for North Korean purchases of Malaysian palm
oil. Hamid expressed hope that China and Russia would
persuade Pyongyang to return to negotiations.