04.04.2022 – Article
Situated at the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore is a major partner in Germany’s Indo-Pacific policy. Foreign Minister Baerbock today met the Singaporean Foreign Minister, Dr Balakrishnan. Their talks focused on global security issues and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
Southeast Asia is developing at a tremendous rate – both economically and politically. The Republic of Singapore lies at the heart of this region. The city-state is a major commercial, financial and research centre. For Germany, the country is a key cooperation partner in the Indo-Pacific. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock today (4 April) met the Foreign Minister of Singapore, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, in Berlin. Topics on the agenda for their first meeting included Russia’s war against Ukraine, geopolitical challenges both at global level and within the Indo-Pacific region, and cooperation between the EU and ASEAN. Foreign Minister Baerbock emphasised:
There is already a dangerous mix in the Indo-Pacific that imperils stability in the region: be it increased military spending, unresolved territorial conflicts, and rivalry between major powers. That is why it is so important for me to tell you today: we have our eyes firmly on the Indo-Pacific.
After all, we know that the region will play a key role in shaping the international order of the future.
We are therefore expanding our partnerships.
Singapore is a particularly important partner for us in the Indo-Pacific.
Both of us share the firm conviction that our international order needs to be based on rules and not on the law of the strongest.
For stability and international cooperation
Singapore is a strong advocate of multilateral cooperation and is committed to strengthening cooperation between the EU and ASEAN. This is also a central goal of Germany’s policy on the Indo-Pacific, because the region’s increased political and economic importance means that tensions and conflicts there also have a direct impact on Germany. For example, around a quarter of global maritime trade passes through the Strait of Malacca. About 40% of global GDP is produced in the Indo-Pacific. Free trade and stability in the region are therefore important both to Germany and to Singapore.
Sustainability and innovation at the heart of bilateral cooperation
Singapore is one of Germany’s prime trading partners in Southeast Asia. As the region’s leading trade and financial centre, the country is a key hub and location for more than 2000 German companies. There is great interest in further expanding the existing close bilateral cooperation in the spheres of sustainability, the digital transformation and research cooperation.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded in 1967 and its headquarters are based in Jakarta. Its ten member states are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Together, they make up an economic area that is home to around 650 million people. The EU has been ASEAN’s Dialogue Partner since 1977. An increasingly close cooperative partnership has since developed, encompassing a wide range of issues including free trade, climate protection, connectivity, security policy cooperation and strengthening the rules-based order. The EU and ASEAN agreed a Strategic Partnership in 2020. The current crisis in Myanmar is also a litmus test for ASEAN’s regional crisis management.