Monday, September 29, 2003
East Of Suez

One of our remaining commitments is the Five Powers Defence Arrangement securing Malaysia and Singapore.

These are a series of arrangements that were entered into in 1971 by the governments of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK. Under these arrangements the five governments undertook to consult together for the purpose of deciding what measures should be taken jointly or separately in response to an attack, or threat of attack, on Malaysia and Singapore.

Are these defence arrangements still required given that invasion by an expansionist Indonesia would antagonise all of the powers in east Asia? Given the importance of the shipping channels and the rise of ASEAN, is this commitment still required? I think not. Replace it with security guarantees from the US, Japan, Korea and China, the powers that have an interest in keeping regional trade flowing.


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