MELBOURNE, 19 February 2013 - The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Varghese, says Australia and others in the Indo Pacific should give more attention to mechanisms to handle incidents at sea before they become a crisis.
Speaking at the Asialink 2013 Chairman’s Welcome in Melbourne last night, Mr Varghese said Australia supported efforts by ASEAN to develop – in cooperation with China – a Code of Conduct for relations in the South China Sea.
“The reality is that in our region we lack much of the architecture and habits that can help us mitigate and manage conflict,” Mr Varghese said. “Asia is not Europe. Our region is much larger, much more heterogeneous. And we do not have the regional institutional structures that have evolved to help protect Europe.”