Kuala Lumpur - Hegemony, a term many associated with the United States these days, received special mention in a speech by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. According to him, Asia-Pacific countries prefer to live in a regional order that inhibits hegemony and curbs excesses.
Mr Abdullah, who did not name any country, said hegemony would breed arrogance, a self-endowed sense of exceptionalism and the imposition of one’s own agenda upon others.
"Powerful states can still flout international laws and be accountable, if at all, only to themselves,” he said when opening the Asia-Pacific Roundtable Conference on June 1.
On China’s rise and rise in Asia, Mr Abdullah said he is of the view that the China of the future - just like the China of the present - will remain a force of peace and stability unless its integrity and core interests are threatened.
He called upon states in the region to strengthen the regime of international laws and norms. "Equally importantly, we must reinforce the penalties and deterrents for violations of international laws and norms. Beyond this, we must reform and strengthen global institutions and regional structures that promote a just and peaceful order.”
Mr Abdullah said a just and peaceful world order could only be achieved with a system based on, among other things, good democratic governance, equality among global citizenry, just laws, respect for law and order, mutual respect and tolerance, consultation and accountability.
The Prime Minister also said that strengthening of security and defence alliances in the Asia-Pacific region were unnecessary and destabilising.
"It is happening without credible cause and at a time when it is least justified. It serves to provoke more than it re-assures," he said.
* Hegemony-free region ideal, says Pak Lah (The Star, June 2)
* PM outlines ways to defuse China-Japan row (New Straits Times, June 2)