PETALING JAYA: Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong has called for states to acknowledge the end of the World Order that was in place since 1989, and to search for new ones for the decades to come.
“The current global security construct which we now take for granted, in fact came into being after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union 1991,” he said at The Fullerton Forum-The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting in Singapore recently.
“The end of the Cold War saw a new era of US dominance in the international order. As the world’s sole superpower at the time, the US viewed itself as the primary guarantor for peace and stability across the world.
“However, this is no longer the case, as the US of today is less interested in foreign engagement, and also considering China’s meteoric rise.”
Liew was speaking on “Preventing Crisis Escalation”. He said we are now witnessing the end of a 30-year period in world history. The forum was held from Monday to yesterday.
“The sooner we recognise the need for a new international security order, the better it will be for us in adapting to the new geopolitical environment,“ he said.
“The new geopolitical order will be a multi-polar one, with the United States still the strongest power but closely followed and matched by China, alongside with several very strong middle powers.
“While US needs to accommodate the rise of China, China needs to realise that it is a big power especially compared to smaller states in Southeast Asia.”
Liew said the last thing we want is a replay of the Cold War, in which the US, under its lens of the Domino Theory, mistook Vietnam for the start of a slippery slope towards Communist influence in the region.
“The rest, as they say, is history,” he said. “Both China and the US must avoid forcing smaller states to choose between them, and must acknowledge their agency.”
“For instance, Malaysia wishes to maintain independence foreign policy space as much as possible.”
During the trip, Liew also met Singapore’s fourth generation leader Chan Chun Sing, Minister of Trade and Industry.
The two leaders exchanged views on a wide range of issues, including defence and regional security. Chan was previously a second defence minister
Liew had separate bilateral meetings with the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence (PDASD) for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, David Helvey as well as Canada’s Director General International Security Policy, Major-General Derek Joyce.
He also engaged with the UK Vice Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Gordon Messenger and the New Zealand Deputy Secretary of Defence, Tony Lynch.