Updated: 01/13/2014 21:30

Govt's should work towards mutual interest and common norms: Dr Ng Eng Hen

Govt's should work towards mutual interest and common norms: Dr Ng Eng Hen

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen says the promise of growth and prosperity that Asia offers can be realised only if governments choose pragmatism over provocation. 

They should also take consistent steps towards dialogue and mutual understanding. 

"We should put away our differences to steer the region away from conflict and towards mutual interest and common norms acceptable to all, and to shape positive outcomes and solutions to our common problems."

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting this morning, Dr Ng says the tensions between Asia's two largest economies, China and Japan - complicated by resurgent nationalism, historical grievances and overlapping territorial claims - were symptoms of regional security relations last year. 

He proposed three principles for building strategic trust: 

First, to redouble efforts in engagement and diplomacy. 

Second, to foster positive engagement through an open and inclusive regional security architecture. 

And lastly, practical cooperation between nations. 

Organised by the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Shangri-La Dialogue provides a platform for delegates to hold frank discussions on current defence and security issues. 

It is the only forum that brings together defence ministers, senior officials and security experts from across the Asia-Pacific. 

About 60 delegates are attending the Dialogue, which will be held till tomorrow.

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