2015 Foreword

Foreword

Welcome to the inaugural Singapore Forum that is held in conjunction with Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence.

The next phase of Asia’s growth will see more complex challenges in geopolitics, changing demographics, income disparities and the competitive use of resources. The growth trajectory is less certain in a more interconnected and interdependent world, with shifts of power and ideas underway. The region continues to be on a high alert on security concerns over the Islamic State. The trilateral relationship between China, Japan and the United States remains a key factor for peace and stability in the region. The major powers, in turn, are seeking a new equilibrium in their relationships with countries in Asia. Even as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) deepens its cooperation and works towards an integrated economic community by the end of this year, it finds itself at the centre of major power interests and as proxies of major powers at play.

Against this backdrop, it is important for all stakeholders to deepen our understanding of the issues that affect one another, promote greater cooperation and reinforce the foundations for peace and sustainable growth in the region and the world. The Singapore Forum aims to promote a regional discourse on Asia’s future and the geostrategic, politico-economic and governance issues that would have an impact on regional development and stability. The Forum will be forward-looking and practical in its focus, giving policymakers and business leaders a neutral platform for frank sharing and exchange of views on the approaches, policies and strategies needed to deepen regional cooperation and integration.

The theme of the inaugural Singapore Forum was "Asia and the World - New Growth, New Strategies." We will look at the next phase of Asia’s development and attempt to address the political and economic reforms that are required to give the countries a better chance to succeed in reaching the next stage of their development. We will also discuss the various economic architectures that have been created to deepen trade and economic integration as well as measures to improve cross-border transport and infrastructure connectivity. The Forum will also examine the transformative power of technology, the opportunities it presents and ways to manage its disruptive impact.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, will share his views during a dialogue session with you at the welcome dinner on 10 April. We are also honoured that Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 6th President of the Republic of Indonesia, will deliver the keynote address on 11 April, and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of the Republic of Singapore, will speak at the luncheon the same day.

The Singapore Forum is organised and supported by the S Rajaratnam Endowment (SRE) that was set up to honour Singapore’s first Foreign Minister and one of our pioneering leaders. The objective of the SRE is to achieve development, peace and stability in the region by deepening international friendships, promoting regional cooperation, and fostering a greater and common understanding of international rules, based on the twin pillars of good governance and sustainability.

I look forward to an engaging session at the Singapore Forum with all of you and hope that you will find it a meaningful experience.

 

Wong Kan Seng
Chairman of Singapore Forum Advisory Board,
Special Advisor for Economic Cooperation to Prime Minister of Singapore,
Chairman of Ascendas-Singbridge Holdings Pte Ltd and
Former Deputy Prime Minister,
Republic of Singapore

   

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