Singapore's Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen stressed that Singapore, as a coordinator for China-ASEAN relations, will try to introduce practical measures to deescalate tensions over the South China Sea.
Minister Ng made such remarks on the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day Media Interview on Tuesday.
Singapore's Ministry of Defense organized the event to mark the day which falls on Friday, and the defense minister shared his thoughts on geostrategic environment and security challenges.
Ng noted that the South China Sea has been very much in the news. "Whatever the wishes, preferences or positions, there is no denying that the South China Sea issue has become internationalized," he said.
"Our position on the disputes in the South China Sea has been clear: we are not taking sides, we are not a claimant state and it does not affect us who owns what," the minister reiterated.
He said setting up hotlines and organizing military exercises just as what has been done in the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise in May are practical measures to build confidence and understanding, which help to deescalate tensions.