25 November 2014
Singapore has talked about being an honest broker between China and Southeast Asian claimants of the South China Sea. Can and should Singapore play such a role?
During the recent ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Mr K Shanmugam spoke with the media regarding the South China Sea disputes involving China and ASEAN members. Because Singapore is not a claimant of the disputes, Shanmugam suggested that Singapore could be an “honest broker”. But is it even possible for Singapore to be an honest broker, and would playing such a role contribute to Singapore’s interests?
Although Singapore does not claim any part of the South China Sea, it has strong interests in the stability of the region. Singapore’s economy depends heavily on trade and is highly sensitive to hindrances to the freedom of navigation in all international sea lanes. Stability in the South China Sea, which is a maritime area close to Singapore, is therefore vital to Singapore’s economic interest.
…Daniel Wei Boon Chua is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, a unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 26/11/2014