26 Jan SIIA Chairman Simon Tay on Singapore’s relations with China and the Trump Administration (Phoenix Television)
SIIA Chairman Simon Tay spoke with Phoenix Television on how Singapore and Asia are managing relations with China and the US. The interview aired on 20 Jan 2017, the day of US President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Video of the segment is available at v.ifeng.com and is embedded below.
VO (Mandarin): A Singapore academic has expressed concern that Donald Trump will affect America’s international standing and soft power. Trump lacks governance and foreign policy expertise; he promotes protectionism and doesn’t seem to respect the rules. On the other hand, China continues to pursue internationalisation, creating a clear contrast with the United States at the moment.
Simon Tay: China, President Xi at Davos this week, really stamped it out, that China stands for free trade, that China wants to honour climate change as a global threat. And I think in that sense, China’s leadership is poised to, again, show: we’re not the guys trying to break the rules, China has benefited from the rules, and that system, those rules, can also benefit the whole world, if we don’t forget that we can all benefit.
VO (Mandarin): If Trump follows through on his Twitter promises, the situation in Asia and Asia-US relations will be jeopardised. The US-China competition determines the world order, but it has never been a zero-sum game.
Simon Tay: We must avoid a win-lose game. It’s not zero sum. One can like both America and China, one can wish President Xi to be a benevolent leader, and hope that Trump isn’t as crazy as some of his tweets suggest, that he will be a good leader for America. We want a good leader for America. It’s good for the world. But of course we also want a successful China.
VO (Mandarin): Before the election, Trump said that Singaporeans are snatching away Americans’ jobs. But Prof Tay pointed out that Singapore has had long-standing and good relations with both American parties. Singapore leaders have also said this to Trump directly. Nevertheless, Singapore leaders plan to maintain good relations with the US under Trump.