NEW YORK: Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam has addressed world leaders at the 67th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
His agenda included the impact of the global economic slowdown and the need for peaceful resolution of disputes.
Mr Shanmugam began his remarks by highlighting the threat posed to small nations by the global economic uncertainty.
"There is increasing concern that this combination of weak consumer demand in developing countries and a continuing crisis in the eurozone may lead to a global recession. An even greater danger, especially for small states like Singapore that depend on global trade, is the risk of increased protectionism," he said.
He also stressed the importance of using multilateral institutions to address global issues.
"Even as we work with the G20, we should look for ways to strengthen and reform existing multilateral institutions including the United Nations, the World Bank, IMF and the WTO. This will help us to achieve greater efficiency, rather than continuing to invent smaller groupings," said Mr Shanmugam.
As the standoff over disputed islands in the East China Sea saw fiery speeches from the Chinese and Japanese delegations, Mr Shanmugam highlighted the role of international law in resolving such discords.
"We have participated actively in various multilateral negotiations, (and) used international dispute mechanisms like the International Court of Justice and International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea to resolve disputes we have had with other countries. Our view is that disputes, including those over territorial sovereignty can and should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law," he said.
During his visit to New York, the Minister also met with his counterparts from countries including Lebanon, Bahrain and Uzbekistan, and participated in the ASEAN ministerial meeting.
As the General Assembly debates draw to a close in New York, delegations from smaller states including Singapore will meet on Monday to discuss their role on the international stage, including how they can help support the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
Besides delivering Singapore’s statement on Saturday, Mr Shanmugam also had meetings with his counterparts from Tajikistan and Canada.
With Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Hamrokhon Zarifi, Mr Shanmugam discussed cooperation between Singapore and Tajikistan in international fora.
The two ministers expressed their interest in exploring new areas of common interest and cooperation.
Mr Shanmugam and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird had a wide—ranging discussion on various issues of common concern, including cooperation in ASEAN, the regional architecture in the Asia—Pacific, and interactions between the US and Canada in various regional and international fora.
Mr Shanmugam welcomed Canada’s interest to increase its engagement of ASEAN, and expressed Singapore’s willingness to work with Canada to this end.
MORE SINGAPORE NEWS
Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn
Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam presents 'Borgman' at the Cannes festival, a film in which a wealthy family's carefully constructed world ... More Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam presents 'Borgman' at the Cannes festival, a film in which a wealthy family's carefully constructed world gets turned upside down by an intruder. Duration: 01:09
Date 8 hrs ago, Duration 1:09, Views 5