PM Lee says stronger Asean-Australian ties will protect peace and stability in Southeast Asia despite great power rivalry

According to Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, Australia is in a good position to assist Asean’s efforts to uphold regional peace and stability as the US-China great power rivalry unfolds in South-east Asia on March 6. “We know full well that conflict in the region would affect us directly and undermine the progress and development that has taken us decades to achieve,” he said, adding that “both Australia and Asean are doing our best to preserve regional peace and stability.”

 

Speaking during the Asean-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne, he stated that big nations are aggressively expanding their influence throughout the region. Each nation is arranging itself in an attempt to either acquire an advantage or stay out of the “middle.” PM Lee stated, “But regional countries share an interest in the peace and prosperity of South-east Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region, despite different strategic situations and perspectives.” Speaking about the various alliances that Asean countries and partners have with the main powers, he said that some are US treaty allies while others have stronger ties to China as a result of geopolitical circumstances or past events.

 

PM Lee went on, “To expand areas of commonality while acknowledging our differences has actually been Asean’s long-standing aim.” He said that because Australia has long-standing ties to South-east Asia, all of the region’s nations recognize it as an Asian power. He also mentioned that the Melbourne summit, which commemorated 50 years of partner relations, demonstrated Australia’s unwavering commitment to Asean, which has persisted through several Australian governments. Shortly after the meeting concluded, PM Lee made a statement to the media in Singapore, stating that Australia has long maintained strong links to the region in sectors like trade and security.

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