Speaking two weeks ago on MoneyFM 89.3, Singapore Press Holdings' new radio station, shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left for home after his surprise rail trip to Beijing, I described Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as being in the unenviable position of being the leader who looked most out of his depth in the current East Asian diplomatic whirl.
Not consulted beforehand while United States President Donald Trump accepted Mr Kim's offer of direct negotiations - an effort brokered by South Korea - and blindsided by Beijing's assertion of influence on the Korean question with Mr Kim's very public kowtow to President Xi Jinping, Mr Abe has seemed a bit flat-footed this year on too many fronts, including at home.
We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles. But a log-in is still required for our PDFs.