by Dr. Ng Eng Hen, Minister of Defense, Singapore
Reviewed by Francis P. Sempa, Contributing Editor
In a recent speech at the Center for a New American Security, Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen called for the development of a "regional security architecture" for the Asia-Pacific region. He emphasized the importance of military-to-military contacts between the regions powers.
Defense Minister Ng noted that the balance of the world's economic and strategic weight has shifted from Europe to the Pacific. The Obama administration, he believes, recognizes this geopolitical fact. The United States has been the "critical force" for peace and stability in the region for fifty years, and most of the region's powers understand the important stabilizing role of America. He urged U.S. statesmen to continue to play that stabilizing role in the face of rising powers in the region, namely China and India.
Dr. Ng called the U.S. a "resident" power in Asia-Pacific, and opined that the U.S.-China relationship is the "critical" relationship that will affect stability and peace for the foreseeable future.
An important component of the security architecture, he noted, is the ASEAN Defense Ministers-Plus forum which brings together representatives of the military establishments of the ten ASEAN nations and the U.S., China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia.
Dr. Ng was hopeful that Asia-Pacific will avoid a new Cold War.