According to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, conflict between the US and China is more likely now than it was five years ago.
PM Lee’s warning arouse during an interview with the BBC, where he cautioned that the two countries could clash if their differences aren’t worked out peacefully.
“The US is still number one but number two [China] is not so far behind,” he said. “That is what is difficult for the US to accept.”
Still, PM Lee says that the chances are “not yet hight” of a military battle.
Singapore’s biggest investor and security partner by far is the US, but China is their largest export market, so its leader is often caught trying to delicately balance Singapore’s relationship with the two economic powerhouses.
“It is a problem for many countries, which is why we are all hoping and encouraging the two large powers to think very carefully before deciding that the other one is an adversary which has to be kept down, if not put down,” Lee added.
“What we would like to see is China being a country where its prosperity, development and growing strength is welcomed by other countries in the world, who see this as an opportunity for them to prosper together and live in a stable world together.”
Recently, China’s senior foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, raised eyebrows when he directly told Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the US isn’t qualified to “speak from a position of strength” with China.
That verbal smackdown occurred in Alaska during the first high-level talks between the Biden administration and China.
It also came on the heels of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin mocked US president Joe Biden by challenging him to a live face-to-face debate.
Many world leaders, especially of countries hostile to the US, view Biden as weak and incompetent, and are eager to take advantage of that perception on a regular basis as US dominance and influence deteriorates around the globe.