Selangor Journal
(from left to right) Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un shakes hand with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, in Amur Oblast, Russia, on September 13, 2023. — Picture by REUTERS via KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY

Malaysia shall continue working with global partners on nuclear disarmament

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — The recent six-day visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Russia, which raised global concerns about potential arms deals between the two nations, occurred when both countries grappled with increasing international isolation.

Termed a rare summit, Kim met with President Vladimir Putin and toured important military and technology facilities, highlighting the deepening defence cooperation between the two nations in the face of separate and intensifying confrontations with the United States (US) and its allies.

This meeting marked the first encounter between the two leaders since 2019 and was reported as Kim’s longest foreign trip since assuming power in late 2011.

Drawing lessons from this event, concerns about global nuclear disarmament, a cause Malaysia consistently champions for a world free of nuclear weapons, emerge as a critical area for discussion, particularly as Malaysia assumes the Asean Chairmanship in 2025.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia strategic studies senior lecturer Hoo Chiew Ping told Bernama that Malaysia should persistently strive to secure commitments from major nuclear powers to refrain from targeting Southeast Asia with nuclear weapons.

“Firstly, the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty was initially promoted by Indonesia during its Asean Chairmanship but made little progress in securing the support of major nuclear powers. Therefore, Malaysia should continue this effort in 2025.

“Secondly, if we can persuade several, if not all, nuclear powers to sign the SEANWFZ, we can propose the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone from the Korean Peninsula to Northeast Asia, though convincing North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons will be challenging.

“Malaysia should continue collaborating with global partners at the United Nations (UN) level and regional stakeholders to promote nuclear disarmament, advocating for the signing of the SEANWFZ treaty by nuclear powers and establishing an inclusive nuclear norm and order that involves both nuclear weapons states (NWS) and non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS),” she said.

Hoo, whose primary research focuses on security issues and the peace process in the Korean Peninsula, shared these insights when asked to comment on Kim’s summit with Putin, which many international media outlets considered historic” and alarming’.

Expanding on the summit, she believes the outcomes of the visit exceeded expectations, given that Kim led a high-level delegation which included top party and military officials.

“The visits encompassed various sites, including the space launch centre, submarine base, air force base, and military research and development centres, suggesting numerous potential areas of cooperation between Russia and North Korea.

“If both countries strengthen long-term military cooperation aimed at enhancing their respective military capabilities, it will undoubtedly have implications for regional and global strategic stability,” Hoo said.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s state media, quoted Kim as stating his visit underscored the ‘strategic importance’ of the ties between Pyongyang and Moscow.

US and South Korean officials expressed concerns that Kim might supply weapons and ammunition to Russia, given Russia’s extensive consumption during more than 18 months of conflict in Ukraine.

However, both Moscow and Pyongyang denied any such intentions.

The report also mentioned that Putin accepted an invitation from Kim to visit North Korea in the future.

— Bernama


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