On Protecting Medium Powers' Interests

To protect their interests, medium powers must develop their defense capabilities, collaborate with other medium powers and/or leverage their partnerships and alliances with major powers. This is something that major powers ought to understand: that the development of capabilities by medium powers is not meant to counter the bigger powers; it is simply a necessity. Major Powers too ought to understand that given the relativity of the powers they have vis-à-vis that of medium powers, their (bigger powers) actions could cause alarm and apprehension on the part of the smaller powers.

This was emphasized by Assistant Secretary Raymund Quilop during his presentation on January 26 in a panel on protecting medium powers’ interest at the Fullerton Forum, the Shangri-la Dialogue's Sherpa Meeting. Held for the 3rd time, the Fullerton Forum brings together senior government officials and academics and analysts for an examination of key security issues. Their insights and comments feed into the Shangri-la Dialogue, which since 2012, has become an annual platform for defense ministers, chiefs of defense forces and other officials to exchange views. The Shangri-la Dialogue also provides a venue for academics to query defense ministers on key security issues.

With Singapore Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen opening the forum with a keynote address where he challenged the participants to examine closely which among the issues ought to be given attention to by defense ministers, the Fullerton Forum this year likewise assessed the 2014 Shangri-la Dialogue and examined the prospects of a stable regional order. The other themes of the forum include the evolving major power relations in the region as well as transnational security concerns as a basis for regional security cooperation.

The other members of the Philippine delegation included Major Raul Del Rosario, the AFP’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Prof. Charie Joaquin of the National Defense College of the Philippines.