Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan worries US-China tension may ‘spiral’ into war
- Balakrishnan says he doesn’t believe the two nations ‘are setting out to wage war on each other, but I do worry there is a very real risk’
- He told The Straits Times the worsening relationship between Washington and Beijing reminded him of what transpired before WWI
“I do not believe any one of them are actually setting out to wage war on each other, but I do worry there is a very real risk,” he said.
“Each party unilaterally deciding what its national interests are and what its response or counter response to the other party will be may inadvertently set itself up for an escalatory spiral.”
Balakrishnan said the worsening relations between Washington and Beijing reminded him of what transpired before World War I. He pointed out that the major powers then had not intended for war but a “series of steps, incidents, mishaps and this locked-in spiral led to a terrible situation”.
“That’s why I remain so concerned about the prospects of global peace,” he cautioned. “The world has entered a very dangerous phase.”
In his remarks on Friday, Balakrishnan did not name any nation, but he acknowledged that there were “clearly” actors attempting to influence Singapore’s citizens and stressed the need to check that messages received are from credible sources.
“We are all exposed to a very wide variety of messages. A significant number of which, in fact, originate outside Singapore whose objective is not necessarily the long-term interests of Singapore but to further their objectives,” he said.
“What (the) PM is telling and reminding all of us is, please be aware these things are going on. We are receiving it and (it is) precisely because we are a multilingual, multiracial, open society [that] we are more vulnerable.”