TOKYO: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the attitude of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un towards bringing peace should be an example to the world.
The Prime Minister said people used to regard North Korea as a belligerent country that did not care for other nations.
“But now that he has made this kind of effort, we shouldn’t be cynical.
“We should take advantage of this new attitude,” Dr Mahathir said after delivering the keynote address at the 24th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia here yesterday.
World attention will be focused on Kim’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in a historic and high-stakes summit in Singapore this morning.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was interested in Kim’s new attitude, which could help ease tension in East Asia and on the dispute involving the South China Sea.
Sonoko Watanabe, editor-in-chief of the Nikkei Asian Review, had asked Dr Mahathir for his views on the summit as Kim’s estranged half brother, Jong-nam, was killed on Malaysian soil.
Jong-nam was poisoned with a nerve agent on Feb 13, 2017, at KLIA2.
Pyongyang had denied any involvement in the incident.
Two women have been charged with Jong-nam’s murder.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that North Korea was not the only country that practised assassination.
“But if we condemn them, then we would be unfriendly to many countries,” he added.
Later, Dr Mahathir told Japan Press Club members that while there was a lot of scepticism about Kim, any contact between people in competition with each other was ultimately welcomed.
To drive home his point, he quoted the Malay proverb “tak kenal maka tak sayang” (you can’t love what you don’t know).