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Former Singaporean FM: U.S. wanting to change China in its own image is completely unrealistic


A view of the skyline in Beijing, China. /CFP
A view of the skyline in Beijing, China. /CFP

A view of the skyline in Beijing, China. /CFP

"For the U.S. to want to somehow change China in its own image, to me, that's completely unrealistic," said George Yeo, former Singaporean foreign minister, during his opening remarks at a recent event held by the Asia Society, where he shared his perspectives on U.S.-China relations. 

"China has its own deep nature because of its own history. There is no country which has a more recorded history of its own past than the Chinese," said Yeo. "So it's deep, extensive codification; how do you change that?"

"So for the U.S. to think they can change China, that's an illusion. And if one build(s) hopes on an illusion, it can only lead to one outcome – to tragedy," he added.

He noted, "If the U.S. accepts China for what it is, I don't think China wants to be number one politically. It'll be number one economically because of the size of its population. But it doesn't want to take on the burdens of being global policemen."

Regarding China's "overcapacity," Yeo said that Chinese competitiveness stems from its vast market and the productivity of its people. He pointed out that Chinese competitiveness "in the end relies upon a very large internal market and a very hardworking population."

"It has always been the case that when China is at peace and organized, it is the most productive economy on Earth, and naturally others feel threatened, and indeed the industries are threatened," he added.

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