‘Resilience’ and ‘innovation’ to be Singapore’s ASEAN focus

‘Resilience’ and ‘innovation’ to be Singapore’s ASEAN focus


Anthea Ow, Content Producer

Singapore is focusing on the themes of ‘resilience’ and ‘innovation’ as Chair of ASEAN for 2018.

At a lecture titled ‘ASEAN: Next 50’ on Tuesday, Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, said that ASEAN would always be affected by external forces, and the challenge was to “collectively build a bigger, stronger ship” that will allow it to navigate “external tsunamis”.  Hence, for its Chairmanship of ASEAN, Singapore’s focus is on “strengthening ASEAN’s resilience and expanding its innovative capacity”.

In this regard, Mr Balakrishnan outlined four target areas for Singapore during its Chairmanship.

First, to establish an “ASEAN Smart Cities Network” by leveraging digital technology to connect people and economies, and enable ideas and solutions to flow across the region.

Second, to build and enhance collective resilience against common threats such as terrorism, violent extremism and transnational crime, including building a robust cybersecurity regime and completing a Model ASEAN Extradition Treaty.

Third, to invest in the people of ASEAN, ensuring that young people gain relevant skills, that infrastructure is up-to-date, and that social, political and economic systems give people fair opportunities.

Finally, to strengthen economic and financial resilience, while deepening ASEAN’s ties with external partners.  According to Mr Balakrishnan, this entails “giving everyone a bigger stake in the region’s continued prosperity”, as “the way to secure peace is to promote interdependence”.  To this end, he emphasised that Singapore would be stepping up efforts to achieve the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and bolstering regional business opportunities by advancing the ASEAN Single Window and ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Regime.

Singapore officially took over the Chairmanship from the Philippines at the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila on 14 November this year.