The world should not treat North Korea leader Kim Jong Un with scepticism and instead learn from his new attitude towards bringing about peace, urged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
After delivering his keynote address at the 24th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo on Monday (Jun 11), Dr Mahathir said people used to deem North Korea a belligerent country which lacked any semblance of care for other nations, reported The Star.
“But now that he has made this kind of effort, we shouldn’t be cynical and should take advantage of this new attitude,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added Malaysia is keen to see developments in Kim’s changed attitude which could bode well for the easing of tensions in East Asia and the South China Sea.
His statement was a response to Nikkei Asian Review editor-in-chief Sonoko Watanabe’s question regarding Malaysia’s view on the US-North Korea Summit and the assassination of Kim’s estranged half-brother Kim Jong Nam on Feb 13, 2017, in Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that North Korea was not the only country which practised assassinations as many other countries had done the same.
“If we condemn them, then we will be unfriendly to many countries.”
At another dialogue with foreign correspondents at the Japan National Press Club, Dr Mahathir noted that although there would be groups who find Kim’s attitude shift and intentions dubious, what remains most crucial is the contact that would be established between the US and North Korea, according to The New Straits Times.
He said: “Any contact between people who are in conflict with each other is something that we should welcome.”
“There is a Malay saying – ‘if you do not know, then you cannot love’ – so if you know each other, it is always good for improving relations between people and between countries.”
US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un met at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on Tuesday (Jun 12).