The commemoration of the 40 years of Diplomatic Relations between Chile and Singapore is an excellent occasion to evaluate and project the opportunities and challenges of the strategic linkage process between Chile and South East Asia, which encompasses not only economic-trade integration, but also political convergence and cooperation for development which requires both mutual knowledge and trust. For this purpose, a robust political and economic framework has favoured and can further strengthen this strategic link: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Forum of East Asia–Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Pacific Alliance, to mention the main organisations and mechanisms connecting Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Moreover, this year Chile will once again host the more than 200 APEC 2019 Forum meetings, including the Leaders Summit.
Thanks to their geopolitical positioning in the Pacific Ocean, Chile and Singapore have established themselves as “gateway” countries in their respective regions. Both nations respect international law and firmly believe in prosperity through a free society and fair market economies. They have a shared vision on achieving progress and social well-being through education, science, culture and communications. Singapore’s interest in becoming a Partner State of the Pacific Alliance, on the one hand, and Chile’s recent acceptance as an ASEAN Development Partner, on the other, illustrate the affinities.
About the Speakers
TOMMY KOH received a First Class Honours degree in Law from the NUS, has a Masters degree in Law from Harvard University, and a post-graduate Diploma in Criminology from Cambridge University. In 1984, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by Yale University and an honorary LLD from Monash University in 2002. Prof Koh is the recipient of many awards, prizes, and honours and his publications address key topics about the international relations and foreign policy of both Singapore and Asia.
ONG KENG YONG continues to hold the position of Ambassador-at-Large at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs and he has been the Chairman of the Singapore International Foundation since 2015. From 2008 to 2011, he served as Director of the Institute of Policy Studies in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Mr Ong graduated from the then University of Singapore with a LLB (Hons). He studied at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., USA, and graduated with a MA in Arab Studies.
REBECCA FATIMA STA MARIA is a top-level Malaysian civil servant, trade negotiator and academic. She was the Secretary-General of the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Investment. In that position (2010-2016) she oversaw the formulation of Malaysia’s international trade policies and positions and often took the lead as chief negotiator for bilateral and regional free trade agreements such as the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. She played an integral role in Malaysia’s participation in multilateral forums such as APEC. Dr Sta Maria’s scholarship has been recognized through various awards. She is the first woman executive director of the APEC Secretariat.
GUSTAVO AYARES is a career diplomat who graduated from the Andrés Bello Academy. As a foreign service officer, he has served in Chile’s missions in Syria, Australia, Sweden, Italy and has been Ambassador to Colombia and Japan. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he has held the positions of Head of the MERCOSUR Unit, Head of the South American Directorate, Head of Cabinet of the Director General of Foreign Policy, Deputy Director of Ceremonial and Protocol, Director of Human Resources and Director General of Administration.