Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on Wednesday (23 April) said the Southeast Asian nations should tackle the Communist threat to the area by providing enough economic progress and social justice to make insurgency unattractive.
SV Newsmen and women gathered in hotel
SV Lee Kuan Yew speaks
Transcript: Mr. Lee: "Each ASEAN country has to ensure sufficient economic progress and social justice that will make insurgency unattractive and unlikely to succeed. Military defence against externally-aided insurgency is only worth the effort and the cost if economic and social development take place. Otherwise the time bought will come to nought, as in Cambodia and South Vietnam. Now we shall all have to establish correct and if possible, cordial, relations with the countries of Indochina whether their governments are Communists or coalition-types like Laos."
NEWSMAN: "Sir, that's very optimistic statement, do you really believe it?"
LEE KUAN YEW: "Thank you very much for your very kind observations. Next question please."
NEWSMAN: "Do you see the need for an early summit meeting of ASEAN member states based on current developments in Indo-China?"
LEE KUAN YEW: "I don't think there's any need for an emergency meeting, the situation had been coming for some time. It came with a suddenness which nobody had expected. But I do not believe that this requires emergency consultations. The dust should be allowed to settle first and we can then see the wood for the trees."
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This film includes a section of Mr. Lee's news conference in English.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on Wednesday (23 April) said the Southeast Asian nations should tackle the Communist threat to the area by providing enough economic progress and social justice to make insurgency unattractive.
Mr. Lee had arrived unexpectedly in Bangkok the previous day for talks with Thai leaders.
He told a news conference that the long-term solution to the region's problems was increased solidarity between the five member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
He said in this way Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines could ensure continued stability and uninterrupted economic development in the area.
All five ASEAN members have recognised the new Phnom Penh Government.