LAST_UPDATEFri, 23 Mar 2018 10pm

Sultan Nazrin Highlights ASEAN's Peace-Building Culture At Sydney Gathering

Filepic: BernamaFilepic: BernamaKUALA LUMPUR: Gracing a regional dialogue in Sydney, Sultan Nazrin Shah shone the spotlight on ASEAN's preference for consultative approaches to peace-building rather than adversarial approaches in response to conflicts in the region.

Addressing the ASEAN-Australia Dialogue 2018 in the Australian city on Tuesday, the Sultan of Perak noted that the 10-member grouping's approach might not be perfect or able to solve all problems quickly and neatly.

"But it's far preferable to coercive diplomacy and hasty resort to military force. The latter has only brought utter destruction and profound misery, at colossal cost, to other parts of the world," the ruler said.

Sultan Nazrin said ASEAN brought a precious gift to the Asia Pacific community that no other entity had been able to.

"It offers a platform for quiet dialogue and consultation to all countries in the region, irrespective of political ideology and security alignment," he said. The text of his speech titled 'ASEAN and Asia Pacific: Peace and Prosperity' was made available to the media here.

Sultan Nazrin graced the event at the invitation of the ASEAN-Australia Dialogue steering committee, part of a larger committee tasked with organising the 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

In the speech, he said the unfolding scenario of mounting rivalry and competition between China and numerous other powers led by the United States was unlikely to lead to war, except perhaps by accident.

"But the situation is extremely unhealthy for the peace and stability of the Asia Pacific region. When big powers are on a collision course there's little lesser powers can do to avert disaster," he said.

The best outcome, he said, would be for resident powers to concede some space at the table for rising powers.

"Prospects may become brighter if adversarial military alliances could morph into more inclusive and cooperative security arrangements that bind friends and foe alike, in pursuit of mutual peace," the sultan said.

He said such a collaborative structure would be more in consonance with a globalised world where security was indivisible and not zero sum.

On the subject of terrorism, Sultan Nazrin said identifying the scourge with Islam would be a grievous mistake.

He said there could not be 'Islamist terrorism' as it was, in fact, a direct contradiction in terms, because 'Islam' meant peace.

"Terrorist groups identify themselves with Islam only because they seek to corrupt the teachings of Islam to serve their evil cause," said the sultan.

In combating terrorism, he said, it was vital to counter the terrorists’ twisted narratives.

"But it's also vital to address the root factors that led to violence in conflict zones and terrorist acts committed in other countries," he said.