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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Chin Tong calls for new global security construct

Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong has called for states to acknowledge the end of the World Order that has been in place since 1989 and to look for a new one for the coming decades.
"The current global security construct, which we now take for granted, came into being after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union 1991.
"The end of the Cold War saw a new era of US dominance in the international order. As the world's sole superpower at the time, the US viewed itself as the primary guarantor for peace and stability across the world."
Liew said this, however, was no longer the case, as the US of today is less interested in foreign engagement while considering China's meteoric rise.
Liew made these remarks to delegates of the Fullerton Forum under the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) - Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting in Singapore recently.
The Sherpa Meeting is a preparatory event for the upcoming Shangri-La Dialogue, a key defence summit involving 28 Asia-Pacific nations.
Speaking on the subject of "Preventing Crisis Escalation", Liew said:
"We are now witnessing the end of a 30-year period in world history. The sooner we recognise the need for a new international security order, the better it will be for us to adapt to the new geopolitical environment."
He noted the new geopolitical order will be a multi-polar one with the US still the strongest power, but closely followed and matched by China alongside several “very strong middle powers.”
'Slippery slope'
“While the US needs to accommodate the rise of China, China needs to realise that it is a big power, especially when compared to the smaller states in Southeast Asia. "
"The last thing we want is a replay of the Cold War when the US, under its lens of the Domino Theory, mistook Vietnam as the start of a slippery slope towards communist influence in the region. The rest, as they say, is history."
He also cautioned both China and the US against forcing smaller states to choose between them.
"For instance, Malaysia wishes to maintain an independent foreign policy space as much as possible," he said.
During the trip, Liew met Singapore’s fourth generation leader Chan Chun Sing who is currently the republic's Minister of Trade and Industry. He was previously the second defence minister.
Liew also had separate bilateral meetings with the US principal deputy assistant secretary of defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, David Helvey, as well as Canada's director-general for International Security Policy, Major-General Derek Joyce.
He also engaged with the UK vice-chief of Defence Staff, General Gordon Messenger and the New Zealand deputy secretary of defence, Tony Lynch. - Mkini

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