Swiss Offer to Mediate in South China Sea Dispute

by swisscham in Bilateral Relations

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has said Switzerland is prepared to act as an intermediary in the South China Sea, where territory disputes are increasing tensions. ÒSwitzerland is not exactly what you would call a maritime power. This is true despite the fact that the Swiss Alinghi sailing boat won the AmericaÕs Cup twice!Ó Burkhalter joked on Saturday in Singapore. ÒBut while Switzerland is not a maritime power, it is a mediation power. As an impartial and credible actor, Switzerland facilitates dialogue and builds bridges in many conflicts. It is home to Geneva, EuropeÕs hub for peace where numerous international talks to resolve differences and prevent or resolve conflict have taken place,Ó he said. ÒMoreover, Switzerland is an economic power. We have a strong interest in regional stability and safe shipping routes in the Asia Pacific. While AsiaÕs security challenges are for Asians to resolve, Switzerland stands ready to facilitate whenever its assistance should be requested.Ó Burkhalter was speaking at a round table at the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore, addressing the issue of how to avoid an arms race in Asia.

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