Saturday, January 2, 2010

Singapore-China Relations Will Continue To Develop

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said he was confident that Singapore's future ties with China would continue to develop. He deeply believed that the future bilateral relations between Singapore and China would be evolved along the original base of cooperation between the two countries. Lee said that an added factor that could help to ensure Singapore's relationship with China would not suddenly break off was the fact that Singapore has many new immigrants coming to settle down in Singapore.

20th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties
However, he also stressed that as Singapore and China celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2010, the sustainable diplomatic ties between the two would lie in the added value of what Singapore could offer China. Lee said that no matter how strong Singaporeans' bilingual abilities could be, and no matter how Singapore's culture was closely linked to that of China, Singapore should know for sure that Singapore must be able to play the value added role to China.
In Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's view, the added value Singapore could provide China would include Singapore's in-depth understanding of its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia and Singapore's intimate relationship with countries in Southeast Asia as well as Singapore's understanding of the operational knowledge of western countries that until today, China has not fully understood.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said this in response to a question on Singapore's future relationship with China. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was invited to address at a dialogue organized as part of celebrations to mark the second anniversary of Business China, an organization spearheaded by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry to strengthen cultural and economic ties with China. The dialogue was held at The Pyramid Club on 29 December.
At the dialogue, Minister Mentor Lee also cited personal experience to illustrate the added value Singapore could offer to other countries. He said he knew a number of western national leaders and has developed decades of friendship with a number of former leaders in Europe and in the United States. He said that when these western leaders wanted to know current development in China, they would consult his view. He said his long-standing friendship and close ties with many international leaders were what the Chinese leaders were lacking although the present Chinese leaders shared equal status with world leaders during international conference or dialogue.

Future Direction
On the future direction of Singapore-China relationship, Minister Mentor Lee was quite confident about it. He pointed out that China may become an advanced world power in 50 years' time, but it does not mean that Singapore will be squeezed out. He said Singapore's relationship with China is changing over time and will continue to change. Faced with a more confident China, Minister Mentor Lee said Singapore could always find its unique role to play in other ways.
"This relationship will change over time, but it goes without saying that between the two countries is also a kind of mutual understanding. Do not forget, each year we have many new immigrants from China to settle down in Singapore. As such, the new relation between Singapore and China will continue to develop. This bilateral ties will not be broken. While the nature of the relationship may change, but we will not be static."
When Robin Hu Yee Cheng, chair of Business China and Senior Executive Vice-President of Singapore Press Holdings asked Minister Mentor Lee if he would support his grandson to work in China, Minister Mentor Lee replied, "Definitely, I will definitely support."
Moreover, Minister Mentor Lee also stressed that his "maintaining Singapore's added value" theory could also be applied to individual level. He reminded those Singaporeans who intended to work in China must, in addition to maintain the required language skills and culture, also should bring with them the professional knowledge and expertise that the local Chinese lacked in order to compete with them.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said that for Singapore to be an effective player on the world stage, or to maintain relations with China, another factor was that Singaporeans must insist on having own position and principles. He stressed that Singapore must retain its point of view, and not becoming a satellite of other bigger economies such as becoming a satellite country for the United States, Japan or China.

In conclusion, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said: "We are a little red dot but we are a special red dot. We are connected with the world. We play a special role in the world. In addition, we are not going to be in anybody's pocket. And if we lose that status, we are meaningless. Because of our status as independent actors, independent observers of situation, when we say something, they say yes that is a Singapore point of view and very often a realistic point of view. If you every take the parrot-like approach to report the viewpoint of the United States, China or Japan, then you will be regarded by others as worthless stuff, a puppet, a parrot. By then you are finished. Being able to maintain our own point of view is something we need to maintain. We do not have to care if other people are not happy with what we can."

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