Singapore PM: Asean unity vs ‘new challenges’ now ‘urgent more than ever’
SINGAPORE — Multilateral cooperation among member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has now become “more urgent than ever,” Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Tuesday, as the region faces “new challenges” on terrorism, climate change, and cybersecurity.
Lee said “no country can deal with them alone.”
“Asean’s future is bright. At the same time, we have to address new challenges like digital technology, which has disrupted our economies and dramatically changed how we live, work, and interact with one another,” Lee said in his speech during the opening of the 33rd Asean Summit here.
Singapore hosts this year’s summit.
Lee said “non-traditional and transnational threats including terrorism and climate change are also looming on the horizon.”
He said climate change puts Asean countries in vulnerable positions and threatens the lives and livelihood of people.
Moreover, terrorism is a “grave threat” to the delicate multi-ethnic and multi-religious social fabric of Asean countries.
“All these mean that multilateral cooperation is now more urgent than ever,” he said.
“These common challenges are complex and unprecedented. No single solution applies to all of us, yet no country can deal with them alone. We need to pool our ideas and resources to tackle these issues together,” he added.
The Singapore leader said multilateral cooperation among Asean-member states has become “more urgent than ever.”
“Countries, including major powers, are resorting to unilateral actions and bilateral deals, and even explicitly repudiating multilateral approaches and institutions. It is unclear if the world will settle into new rules and norms of international engagement, or whether the international order will break up into rival blocs,” he said.
“By coming together in one collective voice, instead of going our separate ways as ten disparate countries, Asean members have strengthened our standing in the world,” he added. /ee
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