‘U.S. FO­CUS ON

Pan­el­list says it should strengthen ties with South­east Asian na­tions

New Straits Times - - News -

BEATRICE NITA JAY AND MASRIWANIE MUHAMADING KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

THE United States must con­tinue to give its com­mit­ment to the se­cu­rity of North­east Asia and re­solve is­sues con­cern­ing the nu­clear weapon threat posed by North Korea.

Seoul Na­tional Univer­sity Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus Yoon YoungKwan said the US should also main­tain and strengthen bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ships with South­east Asian coun­tries.

“A strong com­mit­ment from the US will also lead to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment (in the coun­tries). My sec­ond rec­om­men­da­tion is for the US to con­tinue to gather re­sources to re­solve the North Korea nu­clear prob­lem.”

Yoon was one of three pan­el­lists at a ses­sion at the 31st Asia Pa­cific Roundtable Dis­cus­sion ti­tled “In Con­ver­sa­tion: Asian Views on Amer­ica’s Role in Asia”.

Pre­sent­ing the North­east Asian point of view, he said this in re­sponse to a ques­tion from the floor of the dis­cus­sion, or­gan­ised by the In­sti­tute of Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies (Isis) Malaysia.

The pan­el­lists were asked for rec­om­men­da­tions for US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­eign pol­icy in the re­gion.

In­dia’s Observer Re­search Foun­da­tion Dis­tin­guished Fel­low, Am­bas­sador Pi­nak Ranjan Chakravarty, who rep­re­sented the South Asian point of view, urged the US to come up with a bet­ter, bal­anced strat­egy in deal­ing with ter­ror­ism is­sues in the re­gion.

“(This is) be­cause you don’t try to get Afghanistan with­out ac­tu­ally deal­ing with Pak­istan (on ter­ror­ism is­sues)... it does not work, be­cause most or­gan­i­sa­tions in Afghanistan are based in Pak­istan. It has to be a holis­tic ap­proach,” he said, ad­ding that a weak strat­egy may lead to un­de­sir­able sit­u­a­tions.

Pre­sent­ing the South­east Asian point of view, Thai­land Isis di­rec­tor Dr Thiti­nan Pong­sud­hi­rak urged the US to main­tain con­ti­nu­ity and con­sis­tency with its en­gage­ment in the re­gion.

Ear­lier, US For­eign and De­fence Pol­icy Stud­ies vice-pres­i­dent Dr James Jay Carafano said he was op­ti­mistic that Py­ongyang was not ca­pa­ble of threat­en­ing the US, de­spite claim­ing to have nu­clear weapons.

He said the US did not need to change its poli­cies and prin­ci­ples for North Korea as they were far more ca­pa­ble and pow­er­ful than the North Asian coun­try.

“The nu­clear provo­ca­tion by North Korea does not threaten us. The ca­pa­bil­ity of the US mil­i­tary and de­fence has been proven ef­fec­tive in deal­ing with any form of threat,” he said.

Carafano said this in re­sponse to a ques­tion dur­ing the first ple­nary ses­sion of the roundtable dis­cus­sion ti­tled “New Ma­jor Power Re­la­tions and Dy­nam­ics in the Asia Pa­cific”.

He was among the three pan­elists of the ses­sion, which was chaired by Isis Malaysia chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tan Sri Ras­tam Mohd Isa.

PIC BY MO­HAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI

(From left) Thai­land Isis di­rec­tor Dr Thiti­nan Pong­sud­hi­rak; se­nior di­rec­tor of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Pro­grammes, the US, John Bran­don; Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Seoul In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity and former South Korean for­eign min­is­ter, Pro­fes­sor Yoon Young-Kwan; and Dis­tin­guished Fel­low at the Observer Re­search Foun­da­tion of In­dia, Pi­nak Ranjan Chakravarty, at the 31st Asia-Pa­cific Roundtable yes­ter­day.

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