Countries in Asia and elsewhere on Thursday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, with some countries like Malaysia urging Washington to reverse course.
In a sharply worded statement, Malaysia said the United States "must reconsider" its decision, saying the move would end "all efforts" made toward resolving the Palestinian question, "have grave repercussions" for the stability of the Middle East and "inflame sentiments, making efforts to combat terrorism all the more difficult."
Indonesia joined a chorus of criticism from other Muslim-majority countries, with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi saying that Indonesians "condemn" the decision.
"Democracy means respecting the international law, (and) the recognition does not respect various U.N. Security Council resolutions," Retno said at a democracy forum in the suburbs of Jakarta, while wearing a Palestinian scarf.
"As a democratic country, the U.S. should know what democracy means," she said.
Singapore said in a statement that the city state "reaffirms its longstanding and consistent support for a two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, cautioning that "any premature and unilateral action to alter the status of Jerusalem will impede progress" toward a peaceful resolution of the problem.
Trump's announcement on Wednesday broke long-standing U.S. policy on the Middle East, and observers fear the decision could inflame regional tensions and jeopardize efforts to promote peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The president also directed the State Department to start the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in line with a campaign promise.
Australia expressed concern about increased tensions due to the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop telling local media that she is "concerned by any unilateral action by either side which could add to tensions," according to the Associated Press.
Bishop said Australia has no intention of moving its embassy in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Japan, one of the major U.S. allies in Asia, avoided taking a clear stance over Trump's decision, with the government's top spokesman saying Tokyo is "monitoring the situation with great interest."
The issue of the status of Jerusalem "should be settled through U.N. Security Council resolutions, which have been adopted so far, and negotiations between the parties concerned," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.