George Yeo, former Singaporean Foreign Minister (Cabinet member for 21 years!), is always fascinating.

On Taiwan: "[Our] One-China policy goes back [to the] mid-70s. [...] If there is a war over Taiwan, Singapore will not be involved. I don't believe the policy has changed"

He adds: "For the Chinese in Singapore [74% of the population], do a poll: 'Do you think Taiwan should be independent?'. I think the majority will say 'No'. And if SG's gvt says 'we support Taiwan independence', I think the government will face political problems domestically".
He says China is happy to let the US weaken itself by playing world's policeman: "The Chinese know that [...] there is no profit in interfering in other people's affairs. Sooner or later you [the US] will learn this lesson which we learned painfully more than 2,000 years ago."
To him, "the greatest uncertainty in the world today is US politics" because "America has not been so divided since the civil war" and "every institution has been weaponized and politicized". To him, this is even more worrying than US-China relations.
He believes China's 0-Covid was a winning strategy: "If you leave aside the Western media reports, China during Covid was the least damaged economy in the world. Least damaged! They continues to grow and in fact their manufacturing expanded, their exports grew!"
I was surprised by this 🔽: we assume that the lockdowns in China were a new thing but he explains that it's actually "the traditional way in China to handle epidemics" and goes back hundreds of years. He explains that even imperial palaces were organized on that basis.
Last but not least, his view on why China's direction changed under Xi Jinping: he predicts "challenges not seen in a hundred years" which means he assumes the US will attack China, so it needs to "be able to repel the attack". For Yeo it's "a matter of life or death" for China.
This is the full video from which I took the extracts. Very much worth a watch!

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More from @RnaudBertrand

Aug 19
As accusations of forced labor are back in the news, it's a good time to remind that while China has ratified 28 of the ILO conventions on forced labor (inc. 6 of the 8 Fundamental Conventions), the US has only ratified 14 (inc. only 2 of the Fundamental Conventions).

Small 🧵
The US constitution - the 13th amendment - also still famously legalizes slavery/forced labor "as a punishment for crime" 🔽

And incredibly, the US has an incarceration rate 7 times that of China (821 for 100k inhabitants:… vs 121:…)
In fact the US has 25% of the world's prisoners with only 4% of the world's population!…

Yet they amazingly have the guts to gaslight us into believing they can lecture China on these topics.

The right answer should be outrage but, incredibly, it works 😢
Read 12 tweets
Aug 18
Legendary Singaporean scholar and diplomat Kishore Mahbubani on Western media:

"[Don't look at] this region through the lenses of the Anglo-Saxon media [or] you will completely misunderstand what's happening in East-Asia because they have a very jaundiced, black and white view."
He gives the example of HK:

"It's such a big deal in the Anglo-Saxon media [but] name me one Asian country that's saying anything about HK. [For Asians] HK was a British colony that was illegally seized [...] HK is just part of China in the same way that Goa is part of India."
Mahbubani also believes that in the new cold war, "it's the US that's acting like the Soviet Union and it's China that's acting like the US".

Because "it's China that signing free trade agreements and engaging with the world" and "it's the US that's withdrawing from the world."
Read 5 tweets
Aug 14
The "rules based order": you're free to choose your partners but if you choose the wrong one, don't rule out military intervention 🤦…
Apparently it's ok if democracies do it:

"The coalition of democracies has two legally and morally valid justifications for intervention in a foreign country. The first is when there is a dire security threat that emerges within its sphere of influence. The second is...
...because liberal democracies have an unprecedented understanding of the world population’s aspirations for human rights-based rule of law and innovation-based prosperity for middle-income countries."

We invade you because we have an "unprecedented understanding" you need it.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 13
Is the Australian government starting to discover it might not have been such a good idea to have their most consequential relationship be shaped by ASPI, a Think Tank funded by weapon manufacturers and the US government?

You don't say...…
This is a devastating indictment of ASPI:

"The ASPI charter mandated [that it would provide gvt with] 'a range of alternative views'. Yet when it comes to China, instead of delivering diversity, ASPI has drawn on immense public resources to lead the local anti-Beijing charge."
The article goes on: "[ASPI's funding is] supplemented with rapidly increasing support from foreign governments [and] weapons manufacturers. It's a statement to the obvious that many of these supporters have a self-interest in promoting more adversarial Australia-China relations"
Read 7 tweets
Aug 10
What's immediately striking in France is how much more aggressive people are compared with China.

Just this morning I got into 3 confrontations when in my 8 years in China I never got into a single one!

And we like to think of ourselves as the civilized ones...

First confrontation was driving on the highway.

A guy presumably didn't approve of the way I yielded into traffic in front of him. He proceeded to flash his lights, beep his horn and give me the finger during a good five minutes before he finally calmed down...
Second confrontation was with gypsies at a red light. They have this scam going on where they start cleaning your windscreen and ask money for it. I signaled I didn't want it, the guy still moved to proceed so I beeped my horn and shouted "non!" I got copiously insulted for it...
Read 9 tweets
Aug 2
A (very) rare good take by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times.

"If [Pelosi] does go ahead with a visit to Taiwan this week [...] she will be doing something that is utterly reckless, dangerous and irresponsible. Nothing good will come of it."…
Funnily he makes the exact same point I did 🔽: "It is a measure of our political dysfunction that a Democratic president cannot deter a Democratic House speaker from engaging in a diplomatic maneuver that his entire national security team deemed unwise."
Also, as an added bonus, he included some interesting takes on Ukraine and Zelensky
Read 4 tweets

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