Singapore: Consistent, Hard-Nosed Pragmatism

By Colin Koh

Over the almost two years since its historic announcement, the AUKUS agreement has elicited a broad range of regional responses. While some countries have welcomed the strategic alignment that AUKUS brings, others share concerns over increased regional instability, the emergence of antagonistic security blocs, and nuclear proliferation.

To guarantee the security that the pact promises, Australia and its fellow AUKUS partners will need to understand the region’s perspectives.

This series is designed to provide insight into regional responses to AUKUS, two years on. It will delve into the concerns, qualms, and avenues for opportunity in seven Indo-Pacific countries, through the eyes of regional authors.

In our first report, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies’ Dr Collin Koh explores Singapore’s responses to the AUKUS pact.

Consistent with its long-term pragmatic approach to security groupings, Singapore has been broadly receptive of the partnership – even going so far as to allowing Australian nuclear submarines to use Singapore’s port facilities.

It does, however, have some concerns. In particular, the risk of AUKUS escalating China-US tensions and accelerating regional instability has caused some hesitance. Accordingly, it is important to Singapore that AUKUS complement ASEAN-centric security architecture.

Australia and its AUKUS partners have an important role to play in maintaining Singapore’s support.

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