The US-China Cold Peace and Singapore's cultural DNA

This is an edited transcript of a speech by former foreign minister George Yeo at the Institute of Policy Studies' Singapore Perspectives 2019 conference last week.

The Jiayuguan fortress in Gansu province is the westernmost pass of the Great Wall of China. In the Chinese national anthem, the Chinese talked about rebuilding a new Great Wall. This is because it is difficult enough organising the Han people and ot
The Jiayuguan fortress in Gansu province is the westernmost pass of the Great Wall of China. In the Chinese national anthem, the Chinese talked about rebuilding a new Great Wall. This is because it is difficult enough organising the Han people and other nationalities in China, and their foreign policy has always been defensive in character, says Singapore's former foreign minister George Yeo.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Two hundred years ago, Stamford Raffles established Singapore as a trading post for the China trade. In the 19th century, the jewel in the British crown was India and India's biggest trading partner was China.

We are now seeing before us a new China trade, much bigger than the one in the 19th century. Our history profoundly affects who we are and what our future will be. In the last 40 years, China's growth has been phenomenal, resulting in China impinging on the rest of the world, causing almost an inevitable reaction.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2019, with the headline 'The US-China Cold Peace and Singapore's cultural DNA'. Print Edition | Subscribe