Members say the Southeast Asian Security Treaty helps 'balance’ the region

SINGAPORE, June 3 (Reuters) – Top officials from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Britain said on Saturday their 52-year-old Five Power Defense Arrangement (FPDA) helped keep things in balance amid regional tensions.

„The long-standing FPDA… has always been a key element in ensuring collective security in the region,” New Zealand Defense Minister Andrew Little told a media briefing on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue, Little said, long-term ties between the smaller countries „keep things in balance.”

„I continue to be comfortable with keeping things in balance as different countries, including major powers, work out how the relationship works,” he added.

Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles, Malaysian Defense Minister Seri Mohamad Hasan, Little and British Defense Minister Ben Wallace discussed the importance of the FPDA in a constructive and peaceful manner.

The ministers also talked about cooperation in unconventional ways in the face of contemporary security challenges.

„We are five nations deeply committed to promoting a rules-based order and peace in our region,” Marles said.

Increased regional involvement by countries in Asia and beyond has been a recurring theme at security meetings, sentiments echoed by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday night and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a speech the following morning.

Report by Chen Lin. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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