11 June 2018
Ahead of the meeting between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Mr Lee said on Sunday: “I am hoping that it would lead to denuclearisation eventually, which will be a long process, and there (will be) many twists and turns… Whether we are hosts or not, we hope for an outcome which will set things on a constructive path.”
International relations experts told TODAY Mr Lee’s caution was expected.
Pointing to Pyongyang’s “poor track record” in upholding pacts, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) research fellow Graham Ong-Webb said: “Up to eight agreements have been overturned by North Korea over the years… Of course you have to be cautious. Their track record is very poor.”
Mr Lee’s remarks reflect Singapore’s stance as an “honest broker”, said Dr Ong-Webb, who researches on geopolitics in the Asia Pacific, including weapons of mass destruction.
Agreeing, fellow RSIS researcher Tan See Seng said: “In the past, North Korea has made all sorts of promises and broken each one of them. Caution is definitely appropriate.”
However, Dr Ong-Webb noted that the high stakes meeting is closely watched across the world and there are “a lot of expectations”.
Associate Professor Alan Chong, who researches on international relations of Singapore and Asia, said the Republic “has very clearly a stake in the Korean peninsula”.
“(Mr Lee) has put it very nicely and cautiously, and that’s all that can be said at the moment… But if Pyongyang opens up to more economic co-operation with other countries, Singapore will be one of the first in line to invest in it,” said Dr Chong.
CMS / GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 11/06/2018