Asean has an important and urgent role to play as mediator to preserve peace in this region.
There are signs of potential threats to peace and stability in the South China Sea ("Delicate dance in S. China Sea"; Oct 29).
Legal and historical reasons aside, we have to consider the realities of the situation.
For historical reasons, China will not be seen to be weak and be subservient to foreign military powers again.
On the other hand, the United States, being the top superpower and a proclaimed "policeman" of the world, would like to be seen as the champion of the weak.
Continual confrontation, even verbal, will not be beneficial to Asean nations. It will affect our trade and economy. It will be worse should an unintended arms conflict erupt.
We must nip it in the bud and prevent conflict at all costs.
This is the time that Asean can play a constructive role, to mediate for an acceptable road map to peace and harmony, perhaps with the aid of the United Nations.
When two elephants fight, the ants get trampled.
Asean should draw a path for both elephants to tread to their satisfaction, without having to be seen to be retreating from their different ideals.
George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)