Resources, race and religion, and sovereign rights are three issues that will persist as potential sources of conflict in the Asia-Pacific region, said Senior Minister of State (Defence) Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday.
This is especially so given the region's rapid growth, diversity and complex history, he told about 50 gathered senior military officers from more than 20 countries including the US, China, Japan, India and South Korea. Mr Chan, who is also Acting Minister for Community Development, was speaking at the 15th Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior Military Officers or Appsmo, held at The Sentosa Resort & Spa.
Organised by Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, the conference allows officers to forge ties with their counterparts while keeping up to date with security trends. Mr Chan said that countries need avenues to "discuss such issues amicably and resolve their differences constructively," to prevent conflicts from flaring up.
He urged officers to take the opportunity to build trust and bonds with each other at events such as Appsmo, so that in times of challenge these ties can be called upon when countries work together. "It is incumbent upon us, as the new generation, to similarly build upon the foundation that (the previous generation) have, to...resolve the challenges facing us now and ... in the future," he said.