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Singapore hopes US and China can exercise self-restraint, refrain from actions that will escalate tensions

Singapore hopes US and China can exercise self-restraint, refrain from actions that will escalate tensions

Photo at the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh on Aug 3, 2022. (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore)

SINGAPORE: Singapore on Wednesday (Aug 3) said it hopes the United States and China can exercise self-restraint and refrain from actions that will further escalate tensions amid concerning "cross-strait developments".

The 55th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) was convened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at a time of "significant volatility and insecurity", said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a press statement.

"The AMM discussed cross-strait developments with concern," said MFA.

"Stable US-China relations are vital for regional peace and prosperity. Singapore hopes that the US and China can work out a modus vivendi, exercise self-restraint and refrain from actions that will further escalate tensions."

A modus vivendi refers to an arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday night and left on Wednesday evening, after meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

China has condemned the visit, calling it a "provocation" by the United States and said it would carry out military drills around the island.

MYANMAR SITUATION, RUSSIAN INVASION

The meeting had extensive discussions on recent regional and global developments, including the situation in Myanmar, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cross-strait developments, said the MFA statement.

"ASEAN noted that no progress has been made on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus."

"The decision by the Myanmar military authorities to execute four opposition activists in the week leading up to the 55th AMM was a grave setback for ASEAN’s efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution and national reconciliation in Myanmar," said MFA.

"It also disrespected the efforts of the ASEAN Chair Cambodia and the ASEAN Special Envoy on Myanmar."

ASEAN also reiterated the importance of the continued implementation of the Five-Point Consensus.

"Without any progress on this front, further engagement with the Myanmar military authorities would be of limited value. 

"ASEAN is exploring ways to engage with all stakeholders in Myanmar," said the ministry.

At the meeting, Dr Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore's call for the release of all political detainees, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and for the ASEAN Special Envoy on Myanmar to have access to all stakeholders, MFA said.

In a Facebook post, Dr Balakrishnan described the situation in Myanmar as dire, saying that ASEAN's work must go on.

"We cannot allow ourselves to be held hostage, or let our current difficulties undermine ASEAN’s centrality and unity," he wrote. 

The AMM also discussed the negative impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in particular on energy and food prices. 

"ASEAN reiterated its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of peaceful dialogue among all parties concerned. ASEAN hoped that grain exports from Ukraine can resume to pre-conflict levels," said the MFA statement.

MFA added that Dr Balakrishnan and other ASEAN foreign ministers participated in a joint call with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, during which the leader shared his insights on geopolitical issues.

Source: CNA/ja

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