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Singapore FM says U.S. should avoid anti-China rhetoric

02-10-2012 08:17 BJT

SINGAPORE, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam has said that the United States should not underestimate the impact of the anti-China rhetoric, local media reported on Thursday.

Domestic pressures in the United States, especially in the election year, has resulted in some anti-China rhetoric in domestic debates, Shanmugam, who was on his introductory visit to the United States as foreign minister, told a conference on Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

International media such as AFP also noticed that there has been an increase in anti-China rhetoric from some lawmakers.

Such commentaries tend to suggest a strategy on the U.S. part to contain the growth of China, a report carried by Channel NewsAsia quoted the Singapore foreign minister as saying.

"We in Singapore understand that some of this is inevitable in an election year. But Americans should not underestimate the extent to which such rhetoric can spark reaction which can create a new and unintended reality for the region," he said.

The Singapore foreign minister said the United States should respect the diversity of the systems across Asia when interacting with the different countries and regions in the region, local daily Lianhe Zaobao said.

He also said that the United States' economic ties with Asia is just as important as its military ties with them.

Singapore does not think that the United States is declining, Shanmugam said, adding that the United States is still the world's largest economy and the market that Asia relies on. No other currencies can take the place of the U.S. dollar as an international reserve currency, he said.

Shanmugam has said over the past week that the United States should avoid forcing the southeast Asian countries to takes sides between China and the United States.

China is an important cooperation partner of Singapore, he said, while Singapore is a friend of the United States.

What Southeast Asian neighbors want is for China and the United States to develop a symbiotic relationship, with each seeing the benefit of peaceful development, and smaller countries not having to choose between them, Shanmugam said.

"Containment does not work, will not work," the Washington Post quoted Shanmugam as saying on a visit to the newspaper on Tuesday. "Once you get into Cold War rhetoric, then you get everyone else into a Cold War framework, and it takes on a logic of its own."

Nevertheless, the newspaper seemed to be not convinced, with its writer saying that his interpretation is just that Shanmugam welcomes deeper U.S. engagement in the region, not only military but economic and diplomatic as well, but just do not want the United States to call what it does containment.

It also raised questions about China's strategy of peaceful rise by phrasing them with "if"s.

Shanmugam said in response to the Washington Post article on Wednesday that it seemed necessary for the U.S. State Department to first explain to Washington that it is not containing China before explaining to the world.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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