Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen discusses globalisation with young leaders at Munich Young Leaders Roundtable

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen speaking at the 10th Munich Young Leaders Roundtable in Munich on Feb 18, 2018.
Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen speaking at the 10th Munich Young Leaders Roundtable in Munich on Feb 18, 2018.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - Despite the backlash against it, it's unlikely globalisation will be dismantled but develop with a slightly different set of rules, adjustments and balance in positional powers, Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Sunday (Feb 18).

The question is who rules and who gets to make the rules and on what basis will a country be accepted or chosen as a ruler, Dr Ng told attendees of the 10th Munich Young Leaders (MYL) Roundtable in Germany.

During the discussion titled "Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific", Dr Ng said that the United States and countries in the western hemisphere were instrumental in putting in place globalisation 1.0, which was responsible for Asia's economic growth.

However, globalisation has its problems, and is being resisted by the far-right in Europe and US politics now. But given Chinese President Xi Jinping's pro-globalisation position and how countries have too much vested interest in it, Dr Ng said he does not believe that globalisation will be dismantled.

Instead, Dr Ng said that there has to be a "globalisation 2.0, with slightly different set of rules, adjustments and balance in positional powers".

"The proximate question in my mind is - suppose China continues to be the leading trade partner for all of the Asian countries, and the US is solely there from a military dominance, is that structure stable?" Dr Ng asked the 20 young leaders from 15 countries at the roundtable discussion.

Dr Ng said the relationship between the US and China is thus "all critical" in the next wave of globalisation.

The MYL Roundtable is held in conjunction with the 54th Munich Security Conference, which Dr Ng also spoke at during a roundtable on maritime security.

Dr Ng said on Saturday (Feb 17, Singapore time) that China and Asean are committed to completing code of conduct guidelines to handle disputes in the South China Sea.

The security conference brings together young leaders from governments, think-tanks and the private sector from the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the US, to discuss issues related to foreign and security policy.

Dr Ng will be in Paris, France, on Monday and Tuesday (Feb 19 and 20, Singapore time) to receive the Legion of Honour award.

The award is the highest decoration in France given in recognition of outstanding service by civilians or military personnel, French or foreigner.