Singapore not an ally of US, says Wong

Singapore not an ally of US, says Wong

When asked how likely it is that China could invade Taiwan, Mr Wong said it was hard to say as things are becoming more uncertain. The US has no official diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by American law to give it the means to defend itself.

Taiwan is a flash point. It can become very dangerous, as we have seen in recent events, and can even escalate quite quickly, not because either party deliberately wants this to happen, because both sides understand the consequences and really do not want to go into conflict, he said.

The leadership on both sides understand this. But as they say, no one deliberately wants to go into battle, but we sleepwalk into conflict, and that is the biggest problem and danger. The relationship between the US and China is likely to stay for a long time, but Mr Wong said that while both countries agree on one China this situation is beginning to change.

He said that America has a belief that China is rising up and going to take over its place and that America is trying to contain China's rise.

This dynamic is not helped by domestic politics in either country, pointing out that China has its party congress and the US has its midterms. He said that it's difficult for either side to concede any ground during this period.

When asked if Ms Pelosi's visit gave the reassurance that the US would back its allies, and if he felt that Singapore was an ally of America, Mr Wong said: "We are not an ally to America." He said that Singapore has always upheld the one China policy because of our principled approach to foreign policy based on our own vital and core interests.

Mr Wong said Singapore wants to create a framework in the Asia-Pacific, particularly in Southeast Asia, where all major powers including the US and China have stakes in the region.

He said that we think that will contribute to a more stable configuration, an overlapping circle of friendships, where everyone has stakes here and hopefully that will increase interdependencies and make this a more stable configuration.

Mr. Micklethwait then cited how China's economic decoupling - shifting focus from economic growth to economic control - has pushed businesses and people in Hong Kong to Singapore and asked whether Singapore has benefited from this.

He said that we don't take joy when places around us suffer negative consequences. He said that Singapore will always want to be the bastion of stability and opportunity even in an uncertain and dangerous world.

We want to see the world prosper and we want to see stability around the world. We want to see the economy functioning in a rules-based multilateral system.