SIIA Chairman Simon Tay chaired at the 26th Asia-Pacific Roundtable (APR) on 29th May 2012 in Kuala Lumpur. Held annually since 1987, the APR has gained a reputation as the premier Track Two security forum in the Asia Pacific. Themed “Asian Security Governance and Order”, this year’s conference examined regional perspectives on the evolving security order and efforts to mitigate strategic misperceptions. Participants discussed a variety of security governance issues, including threats to sea lines of communication, the role of non-state actors in promoting conflict resolution, US strategic interests in Asia, as well as recent developments in Myanmar and North Korea.
Simon Tay chaired plenary session 2, featuring Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN, Tong Xiaoling, who spoke on ‘China’s Strategic Vision and Regional Security in the Asia-Pacific’. This session focused on China’s vision for the Asia-Pacific region and specifically its own role in regional security.
Ambassador Tong described the region’s positive trends, including increased intraregional trade and investment, faster economic integration, and successful security cooperation mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defense ministerial Meeting Plus (ADMM+), and the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-pacific (CSCAOP). Yet despite these accomplishments, rivalries and frictions between countries, such as land and maritime disputes between India and Pakistan, China and India, Japan and the ROK, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and many more, continue to undermine the security stability in the region.
Ambassador Tong responded to regional fears, including the “China threat” theory and the South China Sea issue, and stressed China’s continuous commitment to peaceful, cooperative, and mutually beneficial development in the region. In addition, he outlined China’s four major security policy pillars and called upon all other Asia-Pacific nations to increase security dialogue and cooperation in the region, including building an open, transparent, and inclusive Asia-Pacific security structure.