DPM Heng: US, China must develop ‘coopetition', Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

DPM Heng: US, China must develop ‘coopetition'

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DPM also touches on principles of Singapore's governance at Shanghai academy

With both the United States and China playing indispensable roles in ensuring peace and stability, and addressing global problems, Singapore hopes the two major powers will be able to find areas of cooperation amid competition, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

He called such a relationship "coopetition", saying: "Competition can be constructive if managed well as it can spur innovation and drive progress."

But it could also become disruptive if it degenerates into conflict and rivalry, he said.

"We hope that China and the US can develop a relationship based on 'coopetition', and be able to cooperate in mutually beneficial areas while competing," he said, addressing US-China trade tensions at the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (Celap) in Shanghai.

Both sides have imposed heightened tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other's imports.

Washington has also blacklisted Chinese tech giant Huawei, restricting its dealings with US firms.

Mr Heng said the escalating tensions were worrying as Sino-US ties make up the most important bilateral relationship in the world.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who is on a eight-day visit to China, was speaking to about 150 Chinese Communist Party cadres at Celap.

The academy is one of the top four party schools in China and trains mid- to senior-level officials.

Mr Heng said countries should strengthen international cooperation in areas of common concern as no one country has all the resources and expertise.

This was one of the three principles of Singapore's governance he shared in his 30-minute speech in Mandarin, in which he also paid tribute to China and Singapore's longstanding and close friendship built on mutual trust.

The other two principles are being able to adapt to change, and being bold to plan long term.

On being adaptable, Mr Heng said no policy was applicable to all contexts and times.

"We should take calculated risks and dare to change when circumstances require," he said.

But to do this well, governments must put people at the heart of its policies, he said.

Lastly, governments need to take a long-term view in planning, he said, which gives them the "runway" to respond to future challenges.

He said these principles will help governments respond to three global structural shifts: the declining support for globalisation, rapid technological advancements and ageing populations.

"One complex outcome is the reduction of inequalities across countries but an increase in inequalities within countries," he said.

Later in the day, Mr Heng travelled to Guangzhou where he met the provincial party boss Li Xi.

Today, he will visit the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen.