Synopsis

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?

Commentary

 

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. تعلم لعب البوكر Stability in the South China Sea, which is a maritime area close to Singapore, is therefore vital to Singapore’s economic interest.

 

Can Singapore be an “Honest Broker”?

As a small state, Singapore places great value in the collective voice of ASEAN in its engagement with major powers and international forums. Intra-ASEAN hostilities have the potential to split the Association. Furthermore, having developed close diplomatic relations with China, Singapore will inadvertently be affected if the disputes do not reach a peaceful settlement.

 

Singapore does not favour one claimant state over the other, but urges disputants to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner. In Mr Shanmugam’s words, “from Singapore’s perspective…, it doesn’t matter who owns which islands, but where there are disputes, we want it to be dealt with in a way that doesn’t lead to ships confronting each other, shots being fired, increasing kinetic conflict”.

 

It is important to emphasise that Mr Shanmugam’s remarks do not imply that an invitation has been extended to the disputants of the South China Sea. In the first place, he has not elaborated on what an honest broker role might look like. كازينو اونلاين Across a spectrum of possibilities, an honest broker’s role could range from offering a venue for negotiations to arbitrating between opposite sides. There is, of course, a variety of possible measures such as joint economic projects and joint studies on resource extraction in the South China Sea. العاب الروليت There have not been official statements made on this issue.