Washington and Beijing are leading the world into ‘dangerous territory’, Singapore’s future prime minister tells Bloomberg News
US-China tensions are rising following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this month, and the two countries are at increasing risk of falling into an unintended war, warned Singapore’s Prime Minister-in-waiting in an interview.
“We are starting to see a series of decisions made by both countries that will lead us into increasingly dangerous territory,” Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Monday. Wong, who is also finance minister, was chosen by the city-state’s ruling party to succeed Lee Hsien Loong as prime minister, although the timing of that transfer has not been determined.
The future prime minister has warned that Taiwan is just one “breaking point” in relations between Washington and Beijing, and whatever the intentions, miscalculations can quickly escalate into conflict. “It can easily become very dangerous, as we have seen in recent events, and can even escalate quite quickly, not because either party wants it to happen, because as I I said, both sides understand the consequences and really don’t want to get into any conflict.”
Leaders on both sides understand this. But as they say, no one deliberately wants to go into battle, but we are sleepwalking into the conflict, and this is the biggest problem and danger.
Beijing severed military and climate ties with Washington after Pelosi’s trip to Taipei, saying it undermined China’s sovereignty and emboldened separatists in Taiwan. China responded with military exercises in the region, and tensions escalated further when another US congressional delegation visited the self-governing island on Sunday.
Wong said he expects US-China relations to remain contentious, at least in part because of the two countries’ domestic politics. He added that Singapore is “not an ally of America” and opposes Taiwan independence.
Wong echoed recent comments by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who told the Wall Street Journal that Washington was heading aimlessly towards war with Russia and China.
“We are on the brink of war with Russia and China over issues that we partly created, with no idea how this is going to end or what this is supposed to lead to,” said Kissinger.
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