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Some aspects of Republic of Singapore foreign policy 

In modern conditions of globalization this theme is actual, because an interest of the West to South-East Asiat is manifested and continues to grow. This article examines the experience of foreign policy of the Republic of Singapore, which is one of the most attractive countries for world powers like the U.S., China and Japan, due to its advantageous geopolitical location. Also paper analyzes the participation of Singapore in regional integration within the framework of organizations such as ASEAN, APEC, ASEM, etc. Singapore's experience is also important for the Republic of Kazakhstan, which is in similar conditions for the conduction of its foreign policy.

After the Second World War, with the collapse of European colonial rule, the political map of SouthEast Asia has changed. On the arena of international relations became new members with their own features. Singapore is one of that countries, also known as a «phenomenon of Asia», as it was called European experts. Phenomenon lies in the fact that Singapore is not having had sufficient natural resources, fresh water (is imported from neighboring Malaysia), has achieved great economic success. After becoming independent in 1965, the government, in fact, in a few decades became a technological civilization and prosperous region. Over the past forty years domestic regional product grew from $1 billion to $162 billion, and the national income per capita — from less than $1 thousand to $35 thousand Today, 60 % of state revenues are provided by the industrial production. Singapore’s international specialization is the production of high-technology products (a quarter of the national product). No country in the world has such a progressive structure of the economy. Relying on a strong economic base Singapore plays significant role in the policy and economy of South-East Asia and beyond. For 30 years, Singapore has progressed from a poor, undeveloped society of the Third World countries to the industrial and international financial centre with the giant international oil refining centers, pharmaceutical corporations and huge shipyards. Because in this country has never been the administrative-command system, Singapore would not have to move to a free market and democratic society. Transition period had two stages and was different in nature. The first transition took place from 1965 to 1990, when the country has evolved and transformed itself from a poor colony controlled by the British and the British, into an independent Singapore, managed by Singaporeans for Singaporeans. The second transition began in 1990 — by the adoption of a new process of globalization and the active participation in the global economy.

Success small island nation deserved attracted worldwide attention. Formula of economic victories long ago is well known and put into practice in many countries, of course with their own specificity. Singapore's success is the result of a certain combination of ideas, specific factors and circumstances (geography, history, cheap and extremely disciplined labor force, foreign policy), densely substituted by on ordinary common sense and political will of the Lee Kuan Yew Due to its achievements in the economy, Singapore is an important partner for other countries and an important player in the global economy.

Nowadays in conditions of globalized world, in our opinion, the topic is actual enough, because at this moment manifested and continues to grow an interest of the West to South-East Asia region. Similar interest was shown by the Republic of Kazakhstan. When Kazakhstan became independent, Head of State Nursultan Nazarbayev researched the works of Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore's success factors and used them in development programs for country and the principles of the foreign policy of Kazakhstan. We research Republic of Singapore and some aspects of its foreign policy, because this country is really a phenomenon in South-East Asia, that «Asian Tiger», which could include its population in the «golden billion of the planet». In the paper made an analysis and status of foreign policy, its success as an active participant in international relations. Also, another attractive aspect of Singapore is advantageous geopolitical position. Singapore is located on a small swampy island. The only benefit of this nature is advantageous geopolitical position. This state-city consisting of a number of islands, is located on the border of basins of two oceans — the Pacific and the Indian, i.e. at the crossroads of shipping routes between Europe, Asia and Australia. This benefit helped to turn Singapore into a major transit hubs of the world, the world's leading commercial center. The strategic position of the country is the cause of much attention from the major powers such as the U.S., China and Japan, as well as the active participation of Singapore in regional integration.

Considering the main components of the foreign policy, it should be noted that Singapore has diplomatic relations with 175 countries. He is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement. For geographical reasons, relations with Malaysia and Indonesia are the most important since independence. Historical baggage, also includes events, related to the separation from Malaysia, and the confrontation with Indonesia. Singapore has good relations with the United Kingdom, which is associated with the agreement of defense units (FPDA) along with Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Singapore supports the concept of regionalism in South-East Asia, and is active member in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in which it is shown as one of the founding members. Island-city is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. As part of its role in the United Nations, the Republic of Singapore takes part in UN peacekeeping and observer missions performed in Kuwait, Angola, Namibia, Cambodia, East Timor [1].

The fundamental principles of Singapore foreign  policy are:

  • Maintaining relations and military defense as the fundamental basis of its foreign policy;
  • Promoting and close cooperation with closest neighbors in all areas on the basis of mutual respect and In this regard, Singapore is fully committed to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN);
  • Play an active role in international organizations, such as the United Nations (UN);
  • Continue to provide a free and open multilateral trading system and trade with any country on the basis of mutual benefit and to maintain an open market economy [2]
  • Foreign policy as we mentioned earlier, is aimed to balance three main forces of the leading powers in the region and to maneuver between them: the U.S., China,

The collapse of the «Cold War» in November 1990 laid the foundation for a new world process and the end of the bipolar world is characterized by rivalry between East and West and the nuclear build-up. According to former U.S.President George Bush senior, this new era will be based on the  «general acceptance of international norms and standards of morality» [3]. During this period is emerging a multipolarity after global distribution of economic power and the growth of independent entities.

Period after the «cold war» made a significant impact on the strategic interests and security  of Singapore and other parts of Asia-Pacific region [4]. It is about the relationship between the United States and other great powers such as China and Japan. After the end of the Cold War, United States has changed its position to the policy of «mandatory participation» to «Custom» [5; 3]. This policy allows freedom of action, but recognize continued U.S. dominance in the world. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining American interests according to the relative importance of these issues. However, there are fears that U.S. will return to its Cold War, but this time with China. Controversy over the proposed US-Japan missile defense system, including Taiwan and South Korea, have led to concerns from the part of Chinese government about possible regional and global instability. These were exaggerated statements, because Beijing was involved in the U.S. nuclear espionage [6]. Nevertheless, United States continued to maintain a strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region for the security of their country. This will keep the sequence and stability by maintaining a competitive regional distribution of power, thereby reducing the chances of war [7; 3]. Singapore authorities have responded to this initiative positively. The government knew that only United States, its strategic weight, economic power and political influence can keep stability in the AsiaPacific region. In this regard, it was recognized as the «essential element» of any new configuration of the world [8]. Singapore proposed to allow access of U.S. courts to future naval base at Changi.  They considered, that this step will strengthen their basic strategy of «diplomacy and defense» [9]. These actions are typical to the foreign policy of Republic, which has the principle «to have as many friends as possible» [10; 7–15].

In this context, further, we suppose to consider the activity of Singapore in relations with other two countries in the US-China-Japan triangle. After the end of the «cold war», China is looking for «a stable environment for the effective modernization and development». Thus, the country's foreign policy, remains pragmatic, cost-oriented and aimed at cooperation. According to the American political scientist Joseph S.Nye, the model of» East Asia development « is likely mark for gradual transition to a pluralistic world [11]. However, there are concerns that while analyzing, China reform it is possible that there can be used military might to resolve external conflicts. Basis for this concern is the fact that the government has increased military spending in 1990 [11]. However, as it was pointed out by Chinese ambassador to Singapore Chen Baoli, armed forces of the country has been cut in half, from 6 million to 2.5 million in 2000, most of military spending is directed to the construction of infrastructure. Responding to the rapid rise of China as a great power, Singapore has a balanced foreign policy. On the one hand, the country has a large volume of trade and investment with Beijing in support of regional centers, such as Suzhou Industrial Park.On the other hand, Singapore government was careful not to alert the Chinese population of the state, surrounded by the Malay countries [12; 4]. This has led to increased support for United States in the AsiaPacific region, as a method to balance rapid growth of Chinese influence. It emphasizes the desire of Singapore «to maintain a secure and peaceful environment in the Asia-Pacific region» using balance of power of the world powers [2].

Researching position of Singapore to Japan, we should note that it has a dominant influence in trade and investment in South East Asia. The policy of economic growth in Japan has also become a «model» for other Asian countries in the world after the end of the «cold war» [13]. According to the former Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, the «basic foundation» of Tokyo economic cooperation with Asia-Pacific region is within Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) — an intergovernmental body and a free forum for consultation and cooperation [14]. In addition, the dialogue in the framework of major regional organizations such as ASEAN Regional Forum, are also important for the strengthening of mutual trust in the region. However, these mechanisms should complement, not replace, external security arrangements, such as an important relationship between the U.S. and Japan. As well-known military leader Arthur Alexander admitted such union provides «the basis for political stability in an open international economic system» [13]. Singapore's foreign policy initiatives have been intertwined with the interests of Japan. As one of the founders of ASEAN, the voice of the country had its weight among many politicians. Singapore also actively supported the idea of APEC, calling for more free trade and investment, as well as regional cooperation, with a view to maintain «the multilateral trading system, in combination with economic and technical assistance» [15]. In addition, the country stands for stable good relations of power. According to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the relationships in the triangle US-China-Japan «are the basis of the relative peace and stability in the region».

According to one of the above-mentioned principles of Singapore foreign policy, I would like to mark the country's role in the strengthening of the integration process in the region. In this context, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a central element of its foreign policy. Singapore recognizes that its future and prosperity depends on the large extent of ASEAN economic progress and competitiveness. It is still fully committed to move forward in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA). Singapore is a strong supporter of the regional organization built around ASEAN, including APEC, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Forum for East Asia and Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), and the East Asia Summit (EAS). As a step towards regional economic integration is the accepted plan about creating ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which was proposed by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. It is proposed that the AEC would be beyond the normal position of the free trade agreement, and include elements of the common market, such as the free movement of capital and labor. At the ASEAN Summit in Singapore in November 2007, ASEAN leaders agreed to put forward an economic community by 2015.

Singapore is a strong advocate of international law, in particular, the sanctity of national sovereignty, and, therefore, plays an active role in many international forums, including the United Nations, the NonAligned Movement (NAM) and the Commonwealth.

Singapore is one of the countries where the value of foreign trade is much higher than GDP, which emphasizes the role of trade as the lifeblood of the country. Therefore, Singapore is a strong advocate of «open markets» and multilateral efforts to liberalize trade and is actively involved in trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization and APEC. It also expands the range of bilateral and regional free trade agreements. In addition to bilateral agreements, which became effective January 1, 2004, Singapore and the United States build closer relationships in other areas. In October 2003, when the U.S.President visited Singapore, two countries announced the start of negotiations on the Forge — a framework agreement for defense and security between Singapore and the United States. This agreement includes bilateral cooperation in such areas as the fight against terrorism, fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, joint military exercises and training, policy dialogues and defense technology. Representatives of two countries also announced the creation of a joint fund to promote regional cooperation in the fight against infectious diseases and to combat bioterrorism. The center is located in Singapore. Despite of the separate bilateral differences, in particular, with Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, Singapore maintains close relations with its neighbors. Any tension should be considered in the context of fundamental solidarity of ASEAN countries and the interests of Singapore as a global trading nation.

Multipolarity in the world after the end of the «cold war», stressed the number of non-state actors, can significantly impact on the Asia-Pacific region. The United Nations also is one of these key players. According to the former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in the new international context, the situation calls for «multilateralism» and «integrated approach». Only then could the original objectives of the UN Charter, such as peace, justice, human rights and development [16; 43]. Echoing that sentiment, Singapore has also stressed the importance of the UN in maintaining «international agreement». According to Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, is an integrative function will be to ensure that no country was excluded from   the «path of peace security and prosperity» [17]. Singapore government believes that the world organization can serve as a «vehicle» for the small nations to explain their policies and seek support for their position. This gives them the opportunity to shape international opinion, ultimately protecting its sovereignty and independence [9].

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore (1994–2004) Jayakumar, strong and united ASEAN can serve as a «key anchor» for geopolitical stability in the region [18]. This can be done in the economic front, with measures such as the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which help to build a cooperative framework to drive thousands of years. On the political front, ASEAN also welcomed multilateral initiatives such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the ARF and APEC, which help to stabilize the Asia-Pacific region through the creation of regional and international relations [19]. As Singapore is an integral member of ASEAN, its foreign policy is closely related to the group. For example, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew spoke about strengthening US-ASEAN partnership to provide the «anchor» for the continuation of American engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, which will contribute stability in the region [20]. Also important fact was seen by the Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan that regionalism in Asia-Pacific must be built on market integration and openness to countries outside the region [19]. This ensures support for ASEAN's «ideas» as AFTA, ARF, APEC and the WTO. Recently, however, Singapore had difficulties in dealing with the various members of ASEAN. Take the example of a bilateral dispute with Malaysia on issues such as the location of its customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facilities. There is also a dispute with Indonesia that the country has a claim to Singapore will not support it in certain matters.

Singapore's fate is closely linked with its neighbors, its foreign policy was also controlled by the geopolitics of the region. Therefore, attempts to help countries such as Indonesia, with proposals for humanitarian aid and financial assistance, in the hope that such action will serve as a focal point for renewed confidence of investors, led by a rebound overflow Asian economy.

The collapse of the «cold war» and the emergence of a multipolar raised numerous problems for Singapore, and other international actors. This has led to a shift in policy in order to adapt to changing political, economic and social conditions. In order to establish stability in the world after the Cold War, international organizations have created new niches for co-related to their new global position. Singapore, too, has defined a new role for itself in the international arena. According to the Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang of Singapore, «the main foreign policy challenge for any small nation is the ability to affect the environment in such a way as to benefit their interests, or, at least, to limit the negative impact of the environment on its survival and prosperity» [9].

Singapore is the starting point for all financial operations in Southeast Asia. Country to achieve such a result was possible thanks to a clear sequence and that the fulfillment of all the Government's programs. All the achievements of the Republic and its active participation in regional structures, balancing foreign policy in the region to save the «comfortable» environment both for the citizens and for foreign investors is the result of work of the leaders of the country for several decades. And to date, it is the so-called Singapore model of the prototype development of Asian countries, including our state. This fact is well-founded because of the fact that Singapore and Kazakhstan are in the same conditions for the conduct of its foreign policy. The head of state uses the basic principles of building a successful state and at a certain stage of development of Kazakhstan turned ideas Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew, Kazakhstan with typical characteristics. 



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