Positive start to resolving Singapore-Malaysia disputes but observers flag challenges ahead

Left: Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah arriving at The Villa in the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Ginger Garden, where they had lunch (above) yesterday. The meeting shows there is political will on b
Above: Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah arriving at The Villa in the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Ginger Garden, where they had lunch yesterday. The meeting shows there is political will on both sides to see through a resolution, said one observer.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Left: Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah arriving at The Villa in the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Ginger Garden, where they had lunch (above) yesterday. The meeting shows there is political will on b
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah arriving at The Villa in the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Ginger Garden, where they had lunch (above) yesterday. The meeting shows there is political will on both sides to see through a resolution, said one observer.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

They will require compromises and that will pose difficulties to both countries, they say

Yesterday's meeting to address the ongoing bilateral airspace and maritime dispute was positive and constructive, the foreign ministers of Singapore and Malaysia said.

Observers concurred with this description of the discussion, but stressed the challenges ahead and noted it would take some time for officials to jointly resolve the issues.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline 'Positive start to resolving disputes but observers flag challenges ahead'. Print Edition | Subscribe