Mr Teo Ming Kian, Chairman Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) Speech - Opening Ceremony of Asia Telecom '97

Mr Teo Ming Kian, Chairman
Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS)
Speech - Opening Ceremony of Asia Telecom '97
Singapore, 9 June 1997

His Excellency Mr Goh Chok Tong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore,
Dr Pekka Tarjanne, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union,
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore, the host of Asia Telecom 97, may I extend a very warm welcome to all our friends, delegates and exhibitors both from overseas and Singapore, to the Opening Ceremony of Asia Telecom '97. In particular, I would like to welcome the Ministers and Heads of delgations from around the world who have honoured us with their presence today. My sincere appreciation also to our Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong for kindly consenting to be the Guest-of-Honour for this morning's opening ceremony.

Telecommunications is the major driver for globalisation. It has served to vastly improve contacts amongst peoples of the world, and to truly bring the world closer together as one global village. WTO has just concluded an agreement to liberalise the basic telecommunication market. Technology will further advance, the industry, further restructure. The pace of telecommunication development will accelerate. Soon, there will no longer be any remote corners isolated from the rest of the world. For with modern telecommunications, what happened in these hitherto remote corners of the world can, in a very short time, be known the world over. And what is in vogue the world over can be quickly popularised in the remote corners of the world.

The Gulf War was as much a military event as it was a demonstration of the power and force of telecommunications. The collapse of the Berlin Wall, witnessed around the world, was a symbol that no walls are impregnable to modern communication technology. In the context of these developments and the ramifications that telecommunication can wreak, Asia Telecom 97 is both significant and timely. Singapore is honoured to be chosen again as the venue for this premier event.

Asia is very much involved in the telecommunication revolution sweeping the world. It may have a slower start in the telecommunication race, but technology is a great leveler. As the Asian Pacific economy continues to grow robustly, demands for telecommunication technology and services will increase. After all, more than half of the world's population is in Asia. The Asia Pacific region now boasts some of the fastest growing telecommunications markets. This figure is projected to grow in the coming years as countries I the region gradually liberalise more of their telecommunication markets and further develop their telecommunication infrastructure.

Asia Telecom is itself a convenient barometes of this growth. Over the years, we have witnessed Asia Telecom growing in size and stature to become the most prestigious and comprehensive telecommunication event in the region. Not only has the number of Forum participants been increasing, the exhibition space has also grown by more than nine-ford since it was first staged in Singapore in 1985.

The bringing together under one roof, of the world's latest and most innovative telecommunication technologies and services, the gathering of the foremost authorities and specialists in the industry, policy-makers, regulators and network operators to share their views on various aspects of "Asian Routes Toward the Global Information Society", will help the region set future directions to meet the challenges of the coming information age.

This is the noble objective of ITU in organising the Asia Telecom 97. And Singapore is committed to play its role in helping the ITU achieve this objective of Asia Telecom and make it a success, with your strong and continuing support.

Once again, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your participation and presence here, and to take this opportunity to wish all a fruitful and enjoyable stay in Singapore.

Thank you.