In the midst of continuing strife between the US and China, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the only path forward is for the country to “always be principled in our approach, and not swayed by emotions.”
He declared this neutrality during his all-inclusive speech delivered in Malay, Chinese and English on Sunday and stressed that Singapore will resolutely stick to its policy of maintaining good ties with the United States and China even as the two super powers continue to parry and skirmish at each other.
The prime minister admitted the difficulty Singapore is being confronted with as it tries to maintain a neutral position due to the pressures of being a Chinese-majority country that has considerable security ties with Washington.
“Being a Chinese-majority country can at times put us in a difficult position, because our words and actions may be easily misunderstood,” Lee said in his National Day Rally speech, an annual policy address.
PM Lee also underscored how Singapore has been stuck in the middle as it forges strong security ties with the US, through the purchase of advanced equipment from the Western superpower, while the Singapore Armed Forces exercises with American troops. Not to mention the huge investments made by US companies which are higher than those from any other country.
On the other hand, Singapore has a shared heritage and culture with China which has helped foster the two countries’ bilateral relations.
Aside from committed neutrality, PM Lee during his National Day Rally speech also addressed a throng of issues, including a multi-billion dollar “50- to 100-year plan” to fortify the island nation from rising sea levels, a staggered increase in the official retirement age, and significant increases in financial aid for preschool and tertiary education. -/TISG
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