Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has warned that a potential war in Asia would be far more devastating than Ukraine. He called on all countries to prioritize preventing such a scenario. The countries in question, is the USA in particular. The effects of a conflict in Asia could be similar to those seen in the aftermath of World War I. Four empires were destroyed and the world map was altered for nations and states. Dr Ng emphasized the need for confidence-building measures and cooperation instead. And for the defense security sector to take proactive steps to prevent or mitigate conflict in the region.
South China Sea in Focus?
The South China Sea sees 30% of the world’s seaborne trade each year. The Strait of Malacca and Singapore see one-quarter of global oil trade and one-third of global container trade. Conflict in the region could have far-reaching implications worldwide. China and ASEAN have to accelerate the conclusion of a substantive code of conduct. This is based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
War in Asia
Dr Ng highlighted China’s importance as a major manufacturer of sundry goods and many essentials. China controls around three-quarters of the market for cobalt, lithium, and nickel needed in the development of electric car batteries. With the world dependent on China in many areas, no transnational global challenge can be dealt with without China’s input. The US-China relationship, their relationship with ASEAN, other Asian countries, and Europe are ‘too big to fail.’ Therefore, parties must redouble efforts in diplomacy and conflict prevention and mitigation to prevent a war in Asia.
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