“So far China’s rise has been peaceful, within the established international order,” Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his opening statement at the Shangri-La Dialogue. “The key to this peaceful rise continuing is the US-China relationship.” The Shangri-La Dialogue is an inter-governmental security forum held annually at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states which include Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, East Timor, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.
However, he is aware that “claimant states are taking unilateral actions in the disputed areas, drilling for oil and gas, reclaiming land, setting up outposts, and reinforcing their military presence.”
He added that non-claimant country cannot take sides on disputes “but they do have a stake in the maritime disputes, and in particular a stake in how they are handled.”
“China and ASEAN should conclude a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea as soon as possible, so as to break the vicious cycle and not let disputes sour the broader relationship,” Singapore’s top official said.