Singapore’s Lee Urges China, U.S. to Stem Deteriorating Ties



Philip Heijmans | Bloomberg

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong again warned the U.S. and China to deescalate tensions, saying both powers presumed incorrectly they would win in any conflict.

“The reality is, neither side can put the other one down,” Lee said on Tuesday, speaking by video link to the Aspen Security Forum. “I think that is a possible misunderstanding on both sides.”

The U.S. is not in terminal decline, as some in Beijing believe, Lee said. Equally, “China is not going to disappear. This is not the Soviet Union.”

“I don’t know whether Americans realize what a formidable adversary they would be taking on if they decide that China is an enemy.”

Over the years, Lee has been vocal in calling for the world’s biggest economies to avoid a destructive clash that could force smaller countries like Singapore — with its open, trade-reliant economy — to choose sides. After the election of President Joe Biden last year, he said the U.S. should form an “overall constructive relationship” with China under a framework that would allow the countries to develop areas of common interest and “constrain the areas of disagreement.”

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