Commentary: The impact of growing US-China tensions on Singapore

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US-China tensions will impact Singapore’s external relations and economy. Singapore must begin preparing for these consequences and adapt quickly ...

SINGAPORE: We are all worried about the growing tensions between the United States and China. Their disputes have placed other countries in a dilemma.

At the same time, as a rising global power, China needs to put itself in other countries’ shoes, and take greater account of their interests and viewpoints. There are two major implications for Singapore. First, on the external front, in our relations with the US and China. And second, on the domestic front, the impact on our economy.

We also have many collaborative endeavours with US institutions, companies and experts, in the fields of innovation, research, and development. Our relations with China are unique. Apart from China itself, Singapore is the only sovereign country in the world with a majority ethnic Chinese population. This is especially so when the US and China are at odds. If we support China, the US and other countries may think we do so because we are a majority Chinese country, and therefore automatically defer to China. And if we support the US, China may misunderstand our motivations.

We must be clear-eyed about our own national interests and understand the Government’s considerations when we adopt principled positions on bilateral, regional or international issues.Aside from international relations, US-China tensions will also adversely impact the global economy. Supply chains will be disrupted, investments and R&D restricted, and people-to-people exchanges constrained.

Singapore is a small open economy that has benefited greatly from globalisation. If US-China relations continue to worsen, the world will continue to bifurcate.

Source: Financial Digest (financialdigest.net)

 

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