NDR 2019: China and US have yet to find 'magic pill' for their differences

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, China. PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information

SINGAPORE — The United States and China have yet to find the “magic pill” to manage their differences, which has left countries like Singapore in a dilemma, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his annual National Day Rally (NDR) speech on Sunday (18 August).

Speaking during the Mandarin portion of his speech, the 67-year-old added, “Their tensions will not be resolved in the near term. And this will impact the whole order.”

This has left the Republic in a bind - while the US is a major security and economic market, the Middle Kingdom is also Singapore’s largest export market. “Singapore is good friends with China, and also with the US, and we want to remain so,” said Lee.

However, being a Chinese-majority country can sometimes put Singapore in a “difficult position”. The PM noted, “Some of our friends from China have asked us: since we share a common language, a common ancestry and a common heritage, why does Singapore not share a common view?”

Conversely, if Singapore supports China, Lee said that “the US and other countries may think we do so because we are a majority Chinese country and therefore accede to China.”

The Prime Minister stressed again that Singapore is a sovereign country with its own perspectives and political views. “We should always remember that we are Singaporeans...we hope that other countries understand that Singapore is a multicultural, independent and sovereign country, with our own position on issues.”

Related story

NDR 2019: Current economic situation doesn’t warrant immediate stimulus measures - PM Lee