Singapore, Asean should back Russia's role in keeping peace

The Kremlin is seen in Moscow, Russia, on March 30, 2019.
The Kremlin is seen in Moscow, Russia, on March 30, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

Singapore and Asean should not subscribe to the notion that Russia's role in geopolitics is merely that of a spoiler (Russia's spoiler role in geopolitics; April 29).

Mr Jonathan Eyal believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - for the sole purpose of reminding the world that Russia must not be ignored - while denying and ridiculing Mr Putin's resolve in defusing the nuclear showdown in the Korean peninsula.

The latter notion is preposterous. Of course, it is in Mr Putin's indubitable interest to resolve the drawn-out issue of North Korea's nuclear weapon expansion.

Why would Russia desire a nuclear-powered and volatile North Korea at its border, or hope for conflicts to blow up between North Korea and the United States and its allies in the region?

Mr Eyal repeatedly mocked Mr Putin's chest, but what ought to be reiterated is the fact that Russia is a permanent member of United Nations Security Council, a nuclear power, a close neighbour to North Korea, and has enjoyed a relationship with North Korea long before US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim met.

In meeting Mr Kim, Mr Putin has in fact enhanced valuable impetus towards seeking a suitable and sustainable solution to the issue.

As for Mr Eyal's opinion that Russia is deeply unhappy with the world of today, I believe anyone who is aware of the tragic carnage in the Middle East, where millions have been displaced from their homes, cannot in his good conscience agree that all is well.

It is evident by now that the US alone cannot impact what Pyongyang will do on denuclearisation.

Beyond North Korea, no durable solution is visible in the Middle East either, without Russia's involvement. Russia's role as an arbitrator is appreciated as much by Israel as it is by Iran, despite their ongoing acrimony.

After the Putin-Kim meeting, Mr Putin himself sagaciously expressed that the agreements between the US and North Korea are not sufficient, and called for a resuscitation of the Six-Party Talks. This hardly suggests a pompous man putting on a one-man show, but an astute statesman who knows his limitations, and grasps the value of international efforts in collaborating towards a lasting resolution.

That Russia is upholding a role in diminishing tensions by dialoguing with Pyongyang should be applauded.

Singapore and Asean should support Russia's progressive role in maintaining peace and stability in the region (Important for Asean to keep Russia engaged in region, Nov 23, 2018).

Lily Ong