(Singapore Nov 17, 2022) This week’s meeting between the US and Chinese leaders was “a good start,” but the fundamentals between the competing economies have not changed, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum today.
The 49-year-old prime minister-in-waiting made the remarks during an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.
“The US considers China a strategic rival,” he said, noting that the US had stated very clearly that it wants to not just have a lead technology for one or two bounds, but absolutely as far as lead as possible.
“The more US takes in that direction, the more China will feel that the US will just try to keep me down permanently.”
He said that the recent meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping was “important and constructive” but “just the beginning of a long and difficult journey.”
“We shouldn’t have any illusions that this one meeting has changed things overnight because there has been such deep suspicions and distrust built up over so many years,” he said.
Wong said communication between US and China needed to continue at all levels, including between the military, and not just at the top levels. And both sides need to know what each other’s red lines are.
He said he believes that Taiwan is a red line for China but he also repeated Biden’s recent words that there is no imminent attack on Taiwan.
Regionally, even though Southeast Asian countries welcome the chip-making industries moving to there, no one wants to be in the position of decoupled supply chains because the US and Chinese ecosystems cannot be completely separated, he said.