Focus should be on preventing Sino-US war

United States Defence Secretary James Mattis has signalled that the US would use force, should diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the territorial disputes in the South China Sea region ("Mattis urges diplomatic efforts to resolve S. China Sea dispute"; Feb 5).

If conflicts ignite a war, what would follow after the first round of exchanges of missiles and torpedoes? How would citizens in China or the US feel, should one side suffer heavier losses in the first encounter?

Would other nations be dragged into the fray when the military clash escalates?

Taking sides or not should not be our top concern now ("S-E Asia doesn't have to take sides"; Feb 4). Speculating which side would win is also not productive.

The foremost concern should be on how we can prevent a Sino-US war from happening in the first place.

If we do not do so, we would be "sleepwalking" into the next world war.

We cannot rely on Asean to prevent a Sino-US clash. It is a global responsibility, requiring effort from all nations.

The world must unite and stand up to prevent a military conflict between the two superpowers before it is too late.

Albert Ng Ya Ken