The Commonwealth Observer

Huge Asia Pacific defence buildup poses worries, but there is hope

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Murray Burt
Written by Murray Burt

A huge build-up in defence and military forces in the Asia-Pacific region is taking place where there are few institutions and channels for major Asian countries to communicate with one another, Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in an address at an international security conference last month in Munich.

He characterized this as having the worrying potential to create a powder keg situation in the region. This despite the fact there is no shared historical conviction among Asian countries against military conflict, like in Europe.

But Dr Ng said that there are several defusing factors that give cause for optimism. These include growing trade links among Asia-Pacific countries and the rise of an Asian middle class that would not support hegemonic aspirations.

The other four other speakers were Chinese vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhen Min, Japanese vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi, Korean chairman of the National Defence Committee Jin Ha Hwang and former US under-secretary for Defense policy Michèle Flournoy.

Source Singapore Straits Times

Photo credit: Christian Junker – AHKGAP / cc

About the author

Murray Burt

Murray Burt

Murray Burt has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, starting as a cadet reporter in New Zealand, and doing two stints with wire services on Fleet Street before settling in Canada in the newspaper business. He is a retired managing editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and former city and national editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He is a past-president of the CJA and has been a life member since 2003, participating in each of its conferences and CPU’s conferences since 1990. He is a director of the Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi; president of Manitoba’s newly-reconstituted Royal Commonwealth Society; and has directorships in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (western Canada).

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