When asked about his assessment of the tensions on both sides, Dr Balakrishnan said that the US and China are not looking for conflict, but that both sides should take a stand for political reasons.
dr. Balakrishnan emphasized that everyone has a stake in the global integrated economic system: “I know you have to compete, maybe confront, but we all have skin in this game and we want America and China to get along.
“My own personal observation is (that) they are not looking for conflict, but I must now tell all Singaporeans that this is a dangerous, dangerous moment for the whole world.”
dr. Balakrishnan met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting on Friday.
They discussed regional and global issues, including US-China relations and recent developments in the Taiwan Strait, according to a press statement from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
dr. Balakrishnan also stressed the need to avoid miscalculations and accidents, which could lead to an escalating spiral and destabilize the region.
“He encouraged greater senior leadership engagement and dialogue from all sides to build strategic trust,” MFA said.
CRISIS IN MYANMAR
As for Myanmar, Dr Balakrishnan said the situation is “extremely dire” and expressing concern that the country is sliding into civil war.
“There has been no progress on our five-point consensus. In fact, the timing of the recent executions or even the previous bombings … so soon after Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Myanmar … reflects a high level of cynicism or even outright disrespect for ASEAN’s role,” he said.
“The point is we can’t interfere, but if they don’t see that dialogue, national reconciliation and using ASEAN’s good officers have value, then I’m afraid it’s a very dire situation,” he added. he to it.
“How long is this going to take? I’ve heard estimates between four and twenty years. I don’t know, but I’m pessimistic.”
In a joint statement released Friday, ASEAN ministers said they are “deeply disappointed” by the limited progress and lack of commitment of Myanmar’s military authorities in implementing the five-point peace plan.
“We have extensively discussed recent developments in Myanmar and expressed our concerns about the ongoing political crisis…including the execution of four opposition activists,” the statement said.