Thank you Mr Chair for convening this important meeting and thank you also to our keynote speaker, our Asian Partners, and our panellists for clearly outlining the current challenges facing the Indo-Pacific and the clear link to the security of our region.
As we have heard repeatedly today, the Indo-Pacific is critical to the sustainability and future prosperity of communities worldwide. The stakes are high, with opportunity and risk.
And that is why we have concerns regarding stability in the region, at the centre of intensifying geopolitical competition. We see a rise in coercive and aggressive practices, and opaque military modernisation occurring at unprecedented rates. There are close parallels with our experience in Europe, and there is much we can learn from each other on how we respond to hybrid risks, how we defend our democratic systems, how we build citizen trust, and how we ensure digital, transport and other infrastructure connectivity between our economies to underpin our prosperity in a sustainable way.
And beyond human disruptions, the region faces some of the most extreme effects from climate change and biodiversity loss. Just ask our friends in the Pacific, who face an existential threat from rising sea levels and extreme weather. These are challenges we need to address together.
There is also no doubt that Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific security are inseparable. What happens in one has direct impact in another, as we have seen with economic shocks in Asia caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The UK’s vision – shared with many of our closest partners – is for a free and open Indo-Pacific, where states can make sovereign choices free from coercion and where there is respect for territorial integrity in line with international law.
We welcome the similarities in approach taken by many of our European and Asian partners. In light of them jointly convening this event, and it being our 140th year of diplomatic relations, I would particularly like to compliment the Republic of Korea on their own Indo-Pacific strategy, which shares many of the same approaches as the UK, and which outlines a bold vision for engagement with the region including in the digital future economy, where the Republic of Korea is a world leader.
I would also note the importance of ASEAN’s vision in its Outlook on the Indo-Pacific which underlines openness, sovereignty and respect for international rules, alongside maritime cooperation, connectivity and sustainable development – these are in large measure our priorities too. We have much common ground.
As we know, the OSCE is built on the foundation of comprehensive security, a recognition that there are a multitude of intersecting factors that promote the prosperity and security of States and regions, be that military transparency, human rights, security sector reform, rule of law, or anti-corruption efforts, to name a few. Continuing dialogue with our Asian partners on the lessons we have learnt through the OSCE’s history, how we helped build transparency and confidence, how these lessons can be applied to the Indo-Pacific, and where in return we must learn from our Asian Partners’ experience, are essential for a more stable future for our interconnected world.