US may ‘sleepwalk’ into war with China – Asian leader

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Washington and Beijing are leading the world into “dangerous territory,” Singapore’s future PM has told Bloomberg News

US-China tensions are rising in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this month, and the two countries are at increasing risk of stumbling into an unintended war, Singapore’s prime minister-in-waiting has warned in an interview.

“We are starting to see a series of decisions being taken by both countries that will lead us into more and more dangerous territory,” Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said on Monday in an interview with Bloomberg News. Wong, who doubles as finance minister, has been picked by the city state’s ruling party to succeed Lee Hsien Loong as prime minister, though the timing for that handoff hasn’t been determined.

The future PM warned that Taiwan is just one “flashpoint” in the relationship between Washington and Beijing, and regardless of intentions, miscalculations can quickly escalate into conflict. “It can easily become very dangerous, as we have seen in recent events, and can even escalate quite quickly, not because either partly wants this to happen, because as I said, both sides understand the consequences and really do not want to go into conflict.”

The leadership on both sides understand this. But as they say, no one deliberately wants to go into battle, but we sleepwalk into conflict, and that’s the biggest problem and danger.

Beijing cut off military and climate ties with Washington after Pelosi’s trip to Taipei, saying she had undermined China’s sovereignty and emboldened separatists in Taiwan. China responded with military drills in the region, and the tensions escalated further when another US congressional delegation traveled to the self-governing island on Sunday.

Wong said he expects US-China relations to remain adversarial, at least partly because of domestic politics in the two countries. He added that Singapore is “not an ally to America” and opposes Taiwanese independence.

Wong echoed recent comments by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who told the Wall Street Journal that Washington is aimlessly careening toward war with Russia and China. 

“We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” Kissinger said.

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