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AUKUS: Singapore sees balancing act

AUKUS: Singapore sees balancing act

Singapore sees a balancing act in the recent defence pact the United States and the United Kingdom has sealed with Australia.

The pact will promote a stable and secure Asia Pacific region, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Oct. 27. With this stance, Singapore makes it clear it does not want a situation in which China is the only dominant force in the region.

Lee addressed the AUKUS issue during the first Asean-Australia Summit held virtually, saying that both Asean and Australia share a similar strategic regional outlook.

“Singapore welcomes new regional architecture formulations that support Asean Centrality, deepen economic integration, and promote a stable and secure Asia-Pacific region and a rules-based order, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he says.

He says Singapore welcomes Australia’s assurances that AUKUS will be consistent with these criteria.

Singapore has on numerous occasions expressed its confidence the AUKUS will not perturb the region, but will instead add balance to a deteriorating situation.

China has virtually conquered the South China Sea though as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says, Beijing is not putting up toll gates on the seas to block commercial traffic.

The countries in the ASEAN has no other resort but to depend on external intervention to prevent a potential blockade of the South China Sea.

China has been harassing fishing vessels from bordering countries including Vietnam and has sent patrol ships to try to prevent American navy vessels from navigating the seas.

It has also posted its vessels next to Malaysian oil exploration vessels in the disputed seas, forcing Malaysia’s Wisma Putra to call China’s ambassador to Kuala Lumpur to explain its actions.


Nevertheless, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says AUKUS is a development that is part of a larger geostrategic realignment in the wake of the heightened tension between the US and China in the region.

Mr Vivian says Singapore is “not unduly anxious about these new developments”.

“The fact that we are friends to everyone means we’re able to speak honestly, constructively, and they know we’re not against any party, which gives us a slightly unique role to engage in constructive conversations with all parties,” he says.

But Singapore will be “very, very careful” not to end up on any side because this could lead to “adverse consequences”.

Since the formation of the AUKUS, Singapore has repeatedly said it wishes the arrangements will contribute constructively to peace and stability in our region, and complement the regional architecture with Asean as the centre.

AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, announced on September 15, 2021, for the Indo-Pacific region under which, the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

China has reacted, as usual, with a shrieking scream that the AUKUS is an invasion of the territorial integrity of the region or that its an attempt to target China in the South China Sea.