Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat became the first Singapore leader to weigh in on the United States-China trade tensions.

In a Mandarin speech delivered in China on Sunday, May 26, Heng said:

“The China-US relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. Competition is inevitable, as each nation strives to safeguard her interests and create a better life for her people.”

Heng provided two sides of the coin to competition between countries, noting that constructive competition can spur innovation and drive progress, while disruptive competition can lead to conflict and rivalry.

Heng was speaking at the Chinese Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP), one of the top four party schools in China.

Heng’s three principles of governance

Heng offered three principles of governance in response to the global structural shifts of protectionist sentiments, technological disruptions to jobs, and demographic change.

The three principles are

1) being adaptable to change;
2) being bold in planning for the long-term;
3) and strengthening international cooperation in areas of common concern.

Heng’s multi-cities, 8-day trip to China

It is notable that Heng’s first official trip as DPM is to visit China and its leaders.

While it was not Heng’s first overseas trip as DPM — he was in Switzerland on a study trip from May 6 to 10 — it was Heng’s most extensive trip so far.

This time, Heng led a delegation that included the younger political office-holders.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry & Education Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Law & Health Edwin Tong, and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs & Trade and Industry Tan Wu Meng were part of the delegation.

In his visit, Heng met with Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Han Zheng, two of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party in China (CPC).

Li and Han are among the most senior leaders in China.

His official trip to China included visits to the major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Heng’s appointments were also with the top leader of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, namely the Secretaries of the CPC in the city.

Top photo from Heng Swee Keat Facebook

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