Singapore hopes Thailand will find mediation framework: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE - Singapore hopes that a structure or mechanism will be found "to mediate between the different interests and fault lines within Thailand" so the country can move ahead, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said on Sunday.

Mr Shanmugam, in response to media questions on the sidelines of a community health fair in Nee Soon South, noted that the situation in Thailand has ramifications for Asean, not least because Thailand is the second-largest member economy.

Referring to the vision of an Asean Community by 2015, he said: "We want Asean to play a central role in the regional architecture and anything that impacts on any Asean member, let alone Thailand, will of course impact on all of us. We've got to try and make sure that our vision for 2015 of an Asean Community stays on track."

He added that he met Thailand's acting foreign minister last Thursday and expressed Singapore's concerns as well as wishing Thailand and the Thai people well.

Mr Shanmugam also reiterated Singapore's call for the need for a code of conduct in the South China Sea. The reason that the region and Singapore have prospered is because there was stability and freedom of navigation, and disputes were set aside, he said.

But tensions have now increased. A code of conduct acceptable to China and the other countries involved needs to be negotiated, he said.

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