Amid the recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait, which is one of the protracted flashpoints in Asia and in the world, we wish to reiterate our continuing modest calls and fervent wish against a possible Cold War in the Asia Pacific region.
We said that the center of global gravity is moving away from the Atlantic, where it has been during these last 200 years, to the Pacific.
And it is doing so, not so much because the West is weakening, whether economically or militarily, as because other power centers are growing in relative strength, in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
The Asia Pacific is home to the largest economies, the most powerful militaries, and the most attractive cultures.
As the balance of global power shifts from West to East, we in the Philippines and Asia should also strive to help prevent the outbreak of a new Cold War in the Asia Pacific, by encouraging the peaceful rise of every emerging great power in the nations of the G-20 and in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)and supporting popular movements that advocate peaceful co-existence among the East Asian states.
Between Moscow and Washington, and between Washington and Beijing, mutual accommodation must be found, that gives the parties strategic reassurance and respect for their “core interests.”
Ironically, the hard peace between the earlier Cold War principals, the United States and the Soviet Union, had enabled the smaller countries to enjoy well over a generation of political stability and economic growth.
For us in Asia, at least for a long while, the age of ideological conflict is and should be over. We should reject a new Cold War in the Asia Pacific.
It has been said that the Pacific Ocean is large enough for the great powers. And we see no reason the relationships between the great powers should be adversarial. We see no differences between them that sustained diplomacy and understanding and realpolitik cannot resolve.
We also earlier noted that the Asia-Pacific groupings clustered around ASEAN have contributed to reducing tensions in our home regions. But, looking forward to the next 15 to 20 years, the Asia-Pacific still seems the hemisphere with the greatest risk of major armed conflict.
We should embed all our countries in a network of economic, political and moral relationships in an Asia-Pacific community of consent and through a sustained dialogue among countries and peoples of Asia and the world. This is perhaps one of the best formulas for building regional and global peace that will endure.
Community seems the wave of the future, not only for ASEAN but for the whole of East Asia and the Asia-Pacific.
And it will be our generation’s burden and glory to lay the foundations on which these communal and moral structures are to be erected, so that those who come after us can then turn without distraction to the work of delivering our people from their bondage to poverty, ignorance, ill-health; to the ever-increasing threats of conflict, war, terrorism and extremism; and the new frightening challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.