Involve China, Russia, Japan, South Korea in denuclearisation talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump during their one-on-one bilateral meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on Feb 28, 2019.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump during their one-on-one bilateral meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam on Feb 28, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

I agree with Ambassador Ong Keng Yong that we should leave the active role of negotiating the denuclearisation of North Korea to "the bigger countries with more stakes" (Asean can do more in Trump-Kim talks: Experts, March 15).

Given the decades of deep-rooted mistrust and the sheer complexity of the nuclear issue, the negotiation should be a long-haul game.

Both the leaders of the United States and North Korea overestimated their personal rapport and understanding of the complexities involved when they thought they could resolve the issue without involving members of the six-party talks.

The collapse of the second meeting reflected how both parties misjudged how far the other would go without concrete guarantees.

During talks in Beijing last year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he agreed to return to the six-party talks on his nation's nuclear programme and missile tests (Kim told Xi he was ready to resume six-party talks: Report, April 6).

Perhaps, the missing link is the absence of the other four members. The presence of China, Russia, Japan and South Korea could make a difference in arriving at a meaningful point in the negotiation process.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi