Singapore—“A storm is gathering” as relations between the United States and China are worsening over Taiwan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned the city-state on Monday—and they were unlikely to ease soon as the mistrust between the global giants could lead to “miscalculations.”
Therefore, Singapore should be ready for a less peaceful and stable future, Lee said on the eve of the former British colony’s National Day today (Tuesday), as he noted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also has profound implications for the world and Singaporeans.
“Singapore will be buffeted by intense rivalry and tensions in the region around us,” the PM said in a televised address on Channel News Asia.
“What can we do about this? Staying united is key to Singapore’s survival—it is the only way to deal with challenges in an increasingly troubled world.”
“Around us, a storm is gathering. US-China relations are worsening, with intractable issues, deep suspicions, and limited engagement. This is unlikely to improve anytime soon. Furthermore, miscalculations or mishaps can easily make things much worse,” Lee added.
To that end, Singapore must maintain a strong and credible Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team, the premier added.
“We must also brace ourselves and be psychologically prepared that in the next decades our region may not be as peaceful and stable as it has been thus far,” he said on the eve of Singapore’s 57th National Day.
The Russian invasion has set it against many states, especially the US and NATO countries, Lee said, noting it “violates fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and war in Europe will affect regional security in the Asia-Pacific.”
It has also further strained China’s relations with the US and with America’s partners in Asia, the prime minister noted in a message recorded at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay and telecast on Monday.
Last week, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, prompting Beijing to hold live-fire drills in waters around the self-ruled island.
Pelosi kicked off her tour of Asia in Singapore last week, meeting Lee before heading to Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
“We discussed how our nations can continue to work together to advance security, prosperity, and opportunity for those on both sides of the Pacific,” the lawmaker, the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in over 25 years, tweeted after meeting Lee.