US Influence Key to Ensuring China Acts Responsibly

The narrative of an “Asia Pacific century” is still unfolding, said Chee Wee Kiong, second permanent secretary of Singapore’s foreign ministry, in a speech in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. While Asia will be a dynamic region, uncertainty remains about new points of “strategic tensions” as states seek to secure access to energy resources and sea lanes and pursue their own economic interests, he told attendees of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ conference on Singapore. The United States has played a critical role in helping Asia prosper since the end of World War II, and most countries want to see this influence continue, said Chee. The United States’ continued “benign presence” and engagement in the region and with China will lead to the Chinese being a more responsible international actor, he said. Regional consultations, such as the annual Shangri-La dialogue held in Singapore, help serve this engagement, he said. Even the Chinese, who once criticized the concept of Shangri La as a Western construct, now participate regularly, noted Chee. (Chee speech text) (CSIS webpage of event)