Singapore Calls U.S.-China Talks ‘Step in the Right Direction’
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore’s deputy prime minister praised the renewed but rocky dialogue between U.S. and China under the Biden administration and called on the competitors to chart a constructive way forward.
The comments Monday from Heng Swee Keat, who’s also the finance minister and tipped be the next prime minister, follow the first face-to-face talks between the two top economies since President Joe Biden’s election. The talks last week in Alaska opened with public acrimony and ended without agreeing on a way forward.
“Despite the tough rhetoric, it is a step in the right direction,” Heng said at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference. “The meeting showed a recognition from both sides on the need for dialogue and cooperation.”
Singapore -- a small city-state with an out-sized regional influence given its role as a financial hub -- has sought to navigate American efforts to counter China’s influence in Southeast Asia and encourages cooperation on common challenges including Covid-19 and climate change.
“It is important that they persevere, maintain open channels of communication, find a way forward to deal with their differences and manage their tensions and frictions,” Heng said. “While tensions could intensify for some time, I hope that eventually a framework for cooperation will be developed, even as both sides continue to compete, as major powers do.”
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