PM Lee Hsien Loong's interview with Nikkei Asia (May 2022)

SM Lee Hsien Loong | 23 May 2022

PM Lee Hsien Loong's interview with Nikkei's Editor-in-Chief Tetsuya Iguchi on 22 May 2022.


Please scroll down for a Chinese translation of the interview.

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Nikkei Editor-in-Chief Tetsuya Iguchi: Let us start with the situation of the world right now, and particularly the global politics. It seems that confrontation between the democratic countries and so called authoritarian countries has become sharper than ever, particularly since the Russia's invasion of Ukraine. I would like to ask you; how do you see the situation right now?

PM Lee Hsien Loong: I think it is very worrying. Between Russia and the rest of the world, the invasion of Ukraine has caused a lot of tensions, anxiety and righteous indignation, that Russia has violated the international order, they have violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another independent state. And that this is not something countries can allow to pass. So that is a very serious ongoing problem.

The war in Ukraine is continuing. The longer it continues, I think the greater the risk of complications arising and escalation. And that has implications not just in Europe, but all over the world.

Separately, the US and China relations have been tense for some time, from the previous administration and even before that, but continuing into this administration.

That is a separate matter, but it can be aggravated by the war on Ukraine. I would not put this as issue between democracies and autocracies. Because what is at stake in Ukraine is international rule of law, the UN Charter. And that is why Singapore is standing there.

If you frame this as democracy versus autocracy, or as good against evil, you are setting yourself up for an unending war. I do not think that is a wise step to take.

Nikkei: What measures do you think should be taken in order to maintain the rule-based order?

PM Lee: First of all, the fact that the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the invasion of Ukraine is a good sign. It shows that the countries in the world stand up for the international order.

But beyond those gestures – which are important – it is also important for countries to uphold the international frameworks which exists. There are supranational institutions like the UN, as well as the IMF, World Bank and WTO.

These are frameworks which enable all countries to work together even if we have differences and disagreements and even conflicts with one another. If you remove that, or undermine that, then you are back to the law of the jungle.

In the law of the jungle, it is not only the weak who will suffer. Even the strong will have a rough time, because you will be spending all your time fighting one another and dissipating valuable energies.

Secondly, related to this, countries have to abide by the international rule of law. For example, the UN Charter, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. These are rules which apply to everybody, and it is important that countries big and small abide by them. I know that big countries prefer to have freedom of action and are very reluctant to bind themselves. The Russians violated the rules by attacking Ukraine, but other big powers too are often reluctant to allow these supranational bodies to have authority over them. I can understand that, but it is regrettable.

Thirdly, we have to recognise that this is a real world. It is not an ideal world where countries all bow to superior virtue. Therefore, we depend not just on rules but also on a balance of power of different forces, work with different interests, because they have some areas where they cooperate together, but in other areas where they will balance each other off. Within that balance, it is possible for many other countries to find a perch, and to work with multiple parties.

Nikkei: Some people say that the situation is getting quite similar to that in 1930s. Some people even talk about a third world war.

PM Lee: The difference is this time there are nuclear powers. So it is not the same. If you reached such a position [of a world war], you will be in completely uncharted waters. I think everybody is very conscious of the dangers. It will take a lot of wisdom and a lot of restraint and ability to overcome political pressures, to look beyond the immediate in order to head off long term dangers.

Nikkei: So do you think that we can avoid the catastrophe?

PM Lee: We have to do our best.

Nikkei: Talking about the economy, the only difference between the present situation and situation in the 1930s is (that the) global economy is in better shape. But the reality is that global economic growth has been sustained by the expansion of debt and also loose monetary policy for the last 15 years. So the situation is not so good as you can see on the surface. Now, inflation is going up and the central banks are forced to tighten their monetary policy. It might shake the financial market and also overkill the economic growth. What do you think?

PM Lee: Inflation is a problem. The global economy recovered faster than anybody expected from COVID-19. The stimulus measures helped. However, the stimulus measures continued to be applied very generously, for political reasons, even as the economy was already visibly recovering in the US, and also in Europe. Therefore (this) has contributed to a spike in inflation even before Ukraine. Now the war has made it worse because it has disrupted energy supplies, with Russian energy now being blocked from world markets. It has disrupted food supplies, grain certainly. That has added a supply side inflationary shock as well.

A year ago, the central banks were quite relaxed about the prospects of inflation being kept under control. In fact, they worried about deflation and they wanted to bring inflation up to a certain level, e.g. two per cent on average. I think they were too complacent even then. But now it is quite clear that they have to change their stance and I believe that they are doing so.

The difficulty is that now that inflation is quite high, you need quite drastic measures in order to bring it back down and prevent inflationary expectations from taking root. It is very difficult to do that and have a soft landing. There is a considerable risk of doing what you need to do but as a result provoking a recession.

It has happened repeatedly in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. That is a risk which we have to anticipate and watch out for. You will have to take that risk because if you do not act against inflation, that will become a very serious problem for the world.

Nikkei: You think we can overcome the economic difficulty we see right now?

PM Lee: Life will go on. Japan has had economic difficulties since about 1991 [when the bubble economy burst] and life goes on. Japan continues to exist.

Nikkei: In order to overcome the economic difficulty, we need global cooperation. The difficult situation right now is that we are not within circumstances where major economic powers are cooperating.

PM Lee: That is a problem, and it is a problem not just for the global economy but other global issues, e.g. pandemics, climate change, nuclear proliferation. Because without international cooperation, you cannot deal with these common problems facing humanity.

Nikkei: How do you see the economy of Asia, particularly in emerging Asia? Maybe they expanded their external debt for the last 10 or 20 years and now the US dollar is going up on their debt is increasing?

PM Lee: Generally speaking, their debt is not as severe a problem as it was before the Asian Financial Crisis in ‘97-98. A lot of the debt is denominated in domestic currency, unlike the last time when it was denominated in US dollars. But the food and fuel prices will cause them inflation as well as hardship. That is a problem.

Some countries are in a crisis, for example Sri Lanka. But there are specific problems there. Overall I think that the emerging markets will be economic hardship in their societies, but the judgment is that we probably will not have an emerging markets financial crisis.

Nikkei: Talking about the situation in the Asia Pacific. For the last 10 years we have seen the balance of economic and military balance in the region tilt much toward China. I got to ask you how you see the situation and also what kind of role are you expecting the United States and Japan to play in order to have better balance in the region?

PM Lee: As China’s economy has grown and developed, and their influence has grown, their impact on the regional economy has certainly become considerable. They are the biggest trading partner of nearly every country in Asia, including Japan and Singapore. It is natural, and it is something which the regional countries generally welcome, because it creates opportunities for cooperation, trade, prosperity. Many countries want to take advantage of the opportunities presented by China's growth.

China has also been engaging the region systematically. They have the Belt and Road Initiative. They now have the Global Development Initiative (GDI). Singapore supports these. We are a member of the Group of Friends of the GDI.

We think that it is positive, because it is far better that China is prospering and engaged in the region, than that it is operating on its own, outside the rules which apply to everybody else, not properly integrated and coordinated with the rest of the region. Or alternatively that it is unsuccessful, poor and troubled. That can cause a lot of difficulty for the region too.

China’s development is positive for the region, but at the same time, countries in the region all want to maintain their very important ties with other powers, other economies, with America (and) with Europe. For the smaller countries in Asia, we want to do a lot of business with Japan.

Japan compares itself with China, but compared to the other economies in Asia, Japan is the biggest by far. Therefore, we want to nurture these links with Japan, and maintain a balance so that we have resilience and we are not overly dependent on any single party. Overall, we can prosper together, benefit from our interdependence, and have the incentive to keep the region peaceful, stable and secure.

The US has a big stake in the region; their investments are substantial. Their FDI is much bigger than China’s still, although China’s outbound investment is growing. Trade wise, America is not such a big partner as China. But actually, a lot of the trade with China is in intermediate goods, which ultimately go on to America. Therefore, our economic ties with the US are very important.

Under President Obama, America pursued the TPP. Unfortunately, politically it was not possible for them eventually to join. But under Japan’s leadership, the rest of the parties continued, and formed the CPTPP. Now with President Biden, ideally, the US should come back to the CPTPP. But politically it is not possible.

So, the US has now come up with a proposal for an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which they are launching next week. And I think Japan is planning to join. Singapore is planning to join. It is not quite a substitute for the TPP, but it is a forward-looking agenda. We support it, because it is a valuable sign that the Biden administration understands the importance of economic diplomacy in Asia. And we hope that one day the political situation in America will enable them to resume talking about an FTA in some form, and talk about market access. But it may take some time.

Nikkei: Before we talk about the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework initiative, how do you see trade with China? I think the proportion of trade with China, for most of the Asian countries, has become much bigger than 10 years ago. And I am afraid that many countries in Asia rely too much on trade with China. So if China stops importing from Asian countries, the effect could be devastating.

PM Lee: Well, you cannot afford not to do business with China. The opportunities are there, the markets are there, and you want to trade with them, and soon, many countries will be welcoming their investments as well. But at the same time, you would like to grow your trade, your links with the rest of the world, with EU, with America. Even Africa and Latin America – these are new markets, but we have to look for potential all round the world, and we have to keep a balance.

But that China is now a bigger part of the world economy, and therefore proportionately you would expect more of your trade to go with China, I think that is a normal situation. If you say China is a big part, but I do not want to trade with them, it will not only be very costly, but you are setting up for more friction and less chances of maintaining the peace.

Nikkei: Singapore is this year’s Chair of the CPTPP. China and Taiwan both applied for membership. How are you going to deal with those applications?

PM Lee: We are the Chair, but we do not decide. We are the traffic police. We have to handle this in accordance with the rules of the TPP. It is an open grouping where economies can join if they meet the standard, which are quite high, and the decision is made by consensus. That means the Chair will consult the member economies, and they will have their views, and if there is a consensus to start the accession process, it will begin. I think the consultation will take a while; individual members will have different views and they may have their own separate discussions with the economies applying, before telling the Chair what their stand is. We look forward to hearing their views and seeing if there is a consensus.

I think when the members make their decisions, they will look at the economics of it, i.e. the trade and investment aspects. But I am quite sure they will also have the strategic and broader perspectives at the back of their minds.

Nikkei: But when you think about having China as a member for CPTPP, Japan's idea for the CPTPP was to have some sort of counterbalance to China's economic power, because if you have a dominant economic power in the region, that country will dictate the trade rules in the region. So we need some kind of collective bargaining power.

PM Lee: Ideally, you would have had the TPP, America would have been there, and then at some stage, the Chinese may well have thought about whether they would like also to join the TPP. And then you would have had a balance. Now, unfortunately, America is, for the time being, not at the table. So that is something which I am sure Japan will take into consideration.

Nikkei: Getting back to the military balance in the region, they have NATO in Europe in order to match up against Russia, but the problem in Asia is that we do not have a collective security framework in the region. Do you think it is necessary?

PM Lee: The history is different. In Europe, NATO came into being between the Western countries and the Warsaw Pact country, the Soviet bloc. And after the Soviet bloc collapsed, and the Soviet Union broke up, NATO continued in existence. And it has now become de facto a group which is dealing with a perceived threat from Russia, which is similar, but not quite the same situation as during the Cold War.

In Asia, the history is different. There was never a grouping in Asia which was the equivalent of NATO. And countries in Asia, many of them enjoy good ties with China, as well as with the US and the US’ treaty allies. Some are treaty allies themselves, like Japan, Korea, and Australia. Many more are not, but are friends of the US, like Singapore – we are a major security cooperation partner. But even many of the allies maintain important relations with China. So I think that that is a better configuration than one where countries are divided along a line and one bloc confronts another. That is the history in Europe, but it has not been the history in Asia. And I think it is better that it remains not.

Nikkei: And also talking about Indo-Pacific Economic Framework initiated by the United States, Singapore is positive in joining the framework.

PM Lee: Yes, we are positive. Because ideally, you want the US and an FTA arrangement with Asian countries, but they could not do it. So this is an alternative which is not an FTA, but a framework which reflects their intent to cooperate on economic issues which are relevant to the region. It includes supply chains, the digital economy, green economy cooperation. These are positive things which are of interest to countries in the region and keep the US engaged, therefore we support it.

Nikkei: I see. But also the details are still unclear, what kind of outcome would you like to have?

PM Lee: No, the details have not been negotiated. The broad areas have been identified and so we will go in and we will try to work out something as substantive and mutually beneficial as we can.

Nikkei: But what do you expect that initiative could be to your country's benefit?

PM Lee: Well, they have four things listed. Trade; supply chains; clean energy, decarbonisation; and tax and anti-corruption. These are broad areas, but from our point of view, we are interested in talking about digital economy, about green economy cooperation, sustainable energy, sustainable finance, carbon trading rules. We see the opportunity to come to an agreement and we would like to start talking.

Nikkei: I would like to ask you the cooperation between Singapore and Japan. We know we already have a good relationship, but do you find any specific area where we can improve our relations?

PM Lee: The digital economy is one of them. We have our Smart Nation initiative, you have the Digital Garden City Nation Vision, which was initiated by Prime Minister Kishida. We can learn from one another to develop smart cities and how to do digital governance. Every country in the world is trying to do this. Some like Estonia have gone very far. In Singapore we have several initiatives, some further advanced than others. We continue to learn from one another.

I talked about green economy just now. That is also a promising area – cooperation on alternative energy and developing sustainable economies.

Separately, there are items which have been on the agenda for some time but have not moved, but we hope is possible in this environment coming up from COVID-19 to start moving.

For example, we have the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (JSEPA), established in 2002. We had one update, but it needs to be updated again. Japan has not been able to do this because you were preoccupied negotiating the TPP and the RCEP. But those are now settled so I hope that we can now start to discuss upgrading our JSEPA.

Nikkei: What is your suggestion for negotiation?

PM Lee: We would like to bring the JSEPA up to date.

The other area which is long-standing is civil aviation and in particular, air rights. We would like to strengthen air links between Singapore and especially flights to Haneda.

Nikkei: So you would like to increase the number of flights?

PM Lee: Of course. The demand is there. Japan is still now restricting travel, but very soon, you will change your rules and we should prepare for that.

Nikkei: Quick follow-up question. So we had an opportunity to interview you three years ago, and regarding the TPP, you said Singapore's view is that we welcome China to join. Now as China apply for membership, are your views unchanged and do you think member countries have more advantages than disadvantages?

PM Lee: We welcome China to join the CPTPP. I have said so publicly. Of course, they have to meet the standards. They say that they will do that. It is something which will have to be discussed in detail. But in the end, the decision is made by the consensus of the members so the other members may well have different views.

Nikkei: In terms of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, does this have an impact on China's action in Asia Pacific region, including the South China Sea and Taiwan Straits?

PM Lee: I think certainly it will have an impact on our region, because it weakens the global order, and that worries a lot of countries in this region. Therefore, the countries will now be making their own assessments of their defence posture, spending, and strategy, and also the path forward for the region collectively, how to avoid the missteps which led to war in Ukraine, in Europe. And that is a question which needs to be examined not just by small countries, but also by the big countries. Because when you end up in a conflict, it is very seldom only one side which caused the problem.

As for the specific situation in South China Sea, I do not think that the impact is considerable, because in the South China Sea, there is a process going on to discuss a Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China, and the claimant states are all involved. That is in process, although I think it is going to take some time and will be a difficult negotiation. And the countries understand this. Sometimes you can have incidents, but generally the countries do not want to have a physical clash in the South China Sea.

Taiwan is a very complex issue on its own. I am sure the Chinese are studying carefully the lessons of the war in Ukraine. And I am sure on the other side of the Straits, Taiwan is also studying carefully the lessons. I hope that they will draw conclusions which will help them to manage the issue wisely. One conclusion, which many of us looking at the Ukrainian situation will assess, is that when you have a conflict, it is easy to start, but it is very difficult to tell how it will end. And you have to assess not just what happens in the direct conflict, but the broader consequences. Internationally, how other countries will react, how it affects your standing internationally, and also the price of the war and bloodshed.

The only thing worse than a battle won is a battle lost. So even if you win the war, whoever declares that they have won the war in Ukraine, would have paid a very heavy price. And I hope that in the Taiwan Straits, these lessons will be pondered and the parties will be able to manage the situation in a prudent, peaceful way.

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日经亚洲: 我们先谈一谈当今世界局势,特别是全球政治方面。目前,民主国家和所谓的专制国家的对立,尤其是在俄罗斯入侵乌克兰之后,似乎比以往任何时候更加尖锐。请问您对当今局势有什么看法?

李显龙总理: 我觉得目前的局势非常令人担忧。俄罗斯入侵乌克兰的行为,已导致俄罗斯与世界各国之间发生许多摩擦、关系紧张,令人义愤填膺。各国认为俄罗斯破坏了国际秩序,侵犯了另一个独立国家的主权及领土完整,而这种行为是任何国家都不能容忍的。因此,这个严重问题依然仍存在。





日经亚洲: 请问您认为应该采取哪些措施来维持以规则为基础的秩序?

李总理: 首先,联合国大会以压倒性多数票通过谴责俄罗斯入侵乌克兰的决议,是个好现象。这说明世界各国致力于维护国际秩序。






日经亚洲: 有人说,现在的情况跟上世纪30年代差不多,也有一些人甚至形容这是第三次世界大战。

李总理: 不同的是,这次涉及了核大国,所以和以前是不一样的。如果局势升温[到世界大战的程度],世界将陷入未知的局面。我想大家都很清楚其中的危险。然而,要克服政治压力,大家要很有智慧,要有能力并竭尽所能保持克制,而且还要能看清眼前局势,以化解长期的危险。

日经亚洲: 那么您觉得我们能够避免这场灾难吗?

李总理: 我们必须尽全力这么做。

日经亚洲: 谈到经济这方面,目前的情况与上世纪30年代相比,唯一的差别就是目前全球经济的状况比较好。但其实,全球经济增长一直以来都靠着扩大债务规模以及这15年的宽松货币政策来维持。因此情况并非表面看到的那么好。如今通货膨胀上升,各国中央银行被迫收紧货币政策,或许会对金融市场造成动荡,甚至过度抑制经济增长。对此,您有什么看法?

李总理: 通货膨胀是个问题。全球经济从冠病疫情中恢复的速度比任何人预料的还快,因为经济刺激措施发挥了作用。但在美国和欧洲,尽管经济已明显复苏,各国仍因为政治因素继续大手笔资助刺激经济的措施。这导致了通胀在乌克兰战争未开始之前就已飙升。如今,战争使情况恶化,因为全球市场抵制俄罗斯能源造成能源供应链受到干扰。战争也影响了粮食供应,尤其是小麦的供应。这也对供给面通胀造成了冲击。




日经亚洲: 您认为我们能否克服现在面临的经济危机?

李总理: 人们的生活会继续。日本自1991年左右[泡沫经济破灭时]经历过经济危机,然而生活仍继续。日本依然存在。

日经亚洲: 要克服经济危机,就必须全球携手合作。目前的困境是,现今局势难以促进经济强国之间的合作。

李总理: 这是个问题,不仅是全球经济的问题,还有像大流行病、气候变化、核扩散等其他全球问题。因为少了国际合作,就无法处理这些人类共同面对的问题。

日经亚洲: 您如何看待亚洲经济的趋势,特别是亚洲新兴经济体?或许这些国家在过去10年至20年扩大了外债,而如今美元升值加重了他们的债务负担?

李总理: 就整体而言,这些国家的债务问题并没有像1997至1998年的亚洲金融危机之前那么严重,许多债务是以国内货币计价,而不像上次一样以美元结算。但是粮食和燃油价格会带来通胀问题,使他们生活不易。这是个问题。


日经亚洲: 谈谈亚太地区的局势,过去10年里,我们看到了这个地区的经济和军事平衡向中国的方向倾斜许多。我想问您是如何看待这个局势?您又希望美国和日本扮演什么样的角色,以让亚太地区达到更好的平衡?

李总理: 随着中国经济不断增长和发展,也更有影响力,它对区域经济影响确实已变得相当大。中国几乎是亚洲各国的最大贸易伙伴,其中包括日本和新加坡。这是很自然的事,而本区域国家普遍上也对此表示欢迎,因为它为合作、贸易和经济繁荣创造机会。许多国家都希望好好把握中国经济增长所带来的机会。








日经亚洲: 在我们谈印太经济框架这个倡议之前,请问您如何看待与中国的贸易?我认为,大多数亚洲国家与中国之间的贸易,份额已比10年前大许多。我恐怕许多亚洲国家在贸易上过于依赖中国。而假如中国停止从亚洲国家进口所需,这可能会带来灾难性的影响。

李总理: 你不能不和中国做生意。机会都在那里,市场都在那里,你想和他们进行贸易,不久后,许多国家也会欢迎中国来投资。但与此同时,你也希望取得贸易增长,加强与世界各地、欧盟和美国的联系。包括非洲和拉丁美洲,这也都是新的市场。但我们必须在世界各地寻找机遇,也必须保持平衡。


日经亚洲: 新加坡今年是CPTPP的轮值主席。中国大陆和台湾都申请加入CPTPP。请问您会如何处理?

李总理: 新加坡虽然是轮值主席,但决定权不在我们手上。我们是交通警察。我们必须按照协定的相关规则来处理申请。CPTPP是个开放的组织,达到其高标准的经济体都能加入,而成员是通过协商一致的方式做出决定。这意味,轮值主席会征询和听取各个成员的意见。成员之间要对启动加入程序达成共识,我们才会开始相关程序。我认为咨询过程需要一段时间,个别成员会有各自的观点,也可能会先和提出申请者分别进行讨论,之后才会向轮值主席表明立场。我们期待听取各方的意见,看看是否能达成共识。


日经亚洲: 但在考虑让中国成为CPTPP成员时,日本却希望CPTPP对中国的经济实力形成某种制衡。倘若本区域有一个主导的经济体,整个区域的贸易规则就会由它来制定。因此,我们需要有某种集体谈判权。

李总理: 我们最理想的情况是有TPP以及美国的加入。中国随后也可能在某个阶段思考是否也要加入TPP,而这就会形成平衡。但现在可惜的是,美国暂时没有加入,而我相信日本会考虑到这一点。

日经亚洲: 回到本区域军事平衡的问题上。欧洲成立北大西洋公约组织(简称北约),是为了与俄罗斯抗衡,但亚洲的问题是没有类似的集体安全框架。您认为这有必要吗?

李总理: 欧洲和亚洲的历史有所不同。在欧洲,西方国家成立了北约,苏联集团则成立了华沙条约组织。在苏联集团和苏联解体后,北约仍持续存在,现在,它实际上已成为一个应对俄罗斯威胁的组织,情况跟冷战时期相似,但并不完全相同。


日经亚洲: 另外,就美国发起的印太经济框架,新加坡对加入该框架保持积极的态度。

李总理: 是的,我国保持积极的态度,因为最理想的情况是让美国和亚洲国家达成自由贸易协定,但美方做不到。所以这个替代方案不是自贸协定,而是一个显示美国有意就本区域相关经济议题展开合作的框架。这包括供应链、数码经济和绿色经济方面的合作,并且都是本区域国家所关心的、有积极意义的议题。同时它也能让美国继续参与本区域事务,因此我们支持这个框架。

日经亚洲: 原来如此。但其中的细节还不清楚,您想看到什么样的成果?

李总理: 不,细节还没有谈妥,但大方向已经确定,因此我们会加入,并设法制定出一些实质性和互惠互利的倡议。

日经亚洲: 但您认为倡议的哪些方面会对贵国有利?

李总理: 美国提出了四大主轴,即贸易、供应链、洁净能源和去碳化,以及税务和反腐。这些都是广泛的领域。但从我们的角度来看,我们有兴趣讨论数码经济、绿色经济合作、可持续能源、可持续金融和碳交易的规则。我们看到了达成协议的机会,希望能展开讨论。

日经亚洲: 我想问您有关新日合作的问题。众所周知,两国之间已有良好的关系,但您认为还有哪个具体领域是可以改善的吗?

李总理: 数码经济是其中之一。我们有智慧国计划,贵国有岸田文雄首相提出的数字田园都市国家构想。我们可以互相学习,以发展智慧城市,建立数字化的政府。世界上的每一个国家正尝试这么做。有些国家如爱沙尼亚在数码化方面已取得很大的进展。在新加坡,我们也推出了多项计划,其中一些已进入相对成熟的发展阶段。因此大家可以继续互相学习。我刚才谈到绿色经济。这领域也富有发展潜能,两国可在替代能源和发展可持续经济方面合作。



日经亚洲: 您对这次的谈判有何建议?

李总理: 我们希望能更新JSEPA 的内容,让它与时并进。


日经亚洲: 所以您想增加航班的数量?

李总理: 当然。这方面的需求是存在的。目前,日本仍然限制旅游,但贵国很快将会改变条例,我们应该为此做好准备。

日经亚洲: 我想跟进另一个问题。三年前,我们有机会与您进行访问。对于TPP,您当时说新加坡的立场是欢迎中国加入。现在,中国正申请加入协定,您的看法是否保持不变?您觉得对成员来说是利大于弊吗?

李总理: 我曾公开表示欢迎中国加入CPTPP。当然,他们必须达到标准,而他们也表示会做到。这是必须详细探讨的问题。但最后的决定还是取决于成员们所达成的共识,而其他成员很可能会有不同的意见。

日经亚洲: 关于俄罗斯入侵乌克兰之举,这是否会影响中国在亚太地区,包括在南中国海和台湾海峡所采取的行动?

李总理: 我认为这肯定会对本区域造成影响,因为这削弱了全球秩序,而区域的许多国家都为此感到担忧。因此,各国现在都在评估自身的防御姿态、国防开支和战略,以及如何与区域各国共同前进,以避免行差踏错引发像欧洲乌克兰战争的冲突事件。这不仅是小国,也是大国必须研究的问题。因为发生冲突时,往往很难把肇事责任归咎于一方而已。




(文:MCI Translation Department)

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