Ng Eng Hen: Greater strategic trust needed to secure Asia's security
Positive engagement between countries, dialogue leading to practical cooperation and political will and leadership are needed to ensure greater strategic trust and Asia's security amid rapid changes.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said this at the 50th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Germany on Saturday. The conference held annually is a high-level security conference involving foreign affairs and defence leaders worldwide.
Dr Ng explained that as Asia became wealthier over the centuries, many independent nations were free to chart their own futures. As such, many Asian nations also witnessed a rising tide of nationalism. For example, strong nationalist sentiments have been roused in both China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, he said. And as tensions rise over this issue, South-east Asia and Korea will be watching closely, he said.
To maintain harmonious relations in the Asia-Pacific region, Dr Ng emphasised the need to nurture greater strategic trust. This includes holding dialogues such as the MSC as well as the Shangri-La Dialogue. These dialogues must lead to practical cooperation to build understanding that precedes trust.