The ongoing war in Ukraine has implications for the Asia-Pacific region, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his speech at the Joint Press Conference with United States President Joe Biden on Mar 29, 2022.
“There are potential flash points and contentious issues in our region too, which if not managed well, could escalate to open conflict,” he said.
PM Lee then urged countries with interests in the regions to pursue all efforts to settle disagreements through peaceful means, to avoid reaching the point of no return.
“It is important therefore, to keep open channels of dialogue between countries, including at the highest level. This will help to manage developments in order to avoid conflict and prevent misreading each other’s intentions.”
Singapore a staunch supporter of international law and the UN Charter
In his speech, PM Lee also reiterated that Singapore is a staunch supporter of international law and the UN Charter, and that Singapore cannot condone any country arguing that another country’s independence is the result of “historical errors and crazy decisions”.
“And that is why we have strongly condemned the unprovoked attack by Russia on Ukraine. The sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all countries, big and small, must be respected. The unprovoked military invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext is unacceptable.”
PM Lee also told President Biden on the sanctions and restrictions against Russia.
Said PM Lee: “Our actions are based on the principles that are fundamental to our survival and existence as an independent sovereign nation. We have upheld these principles, and voted in accordance with them at the UN, in successive crises over many decades, involving different countries.”
US Regional Engagement
Besides the Ukraine War, PM Lee also touched on the strong ties between Singapore and the US, and paid tribute to President Biden’s commitment to Southeast Asia and ASEAN.
“We welcomed his intention to host an ASEAN-US Special Summit here soon. It is a strong affirmation of American commitment to Southeast Asia and to ASEAN centrality.”
PM Lee and President Biden had also discussed the importance of the US growing its strategic and economic stakes in Asia-Pacific, especially to advance a positive economic agenda that is open, inclusive, up to date and flexible.
“We therefore welcome America’s proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which will strengthen America’s engagement in the evolving regional economic architecture.”