RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHINA, US ‘VITAL’ FOR ALL COUNTRIES
Dr Ng said that countries will have to deal with the world “as it is, not as we wish”, pointing out that the relationship between the US and China is “vital” for all countries.
Beijing and Washington continue to face a range of thorny issues, but have stepped up engagement in recent months.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a rare trip to the US over the weekend, amid talk that a meeting could take place between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden next month on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco.
Dr Ng said this was “good progress”, adding there is “low-hanging fruit” that is possible too.
“The US and China are large complex countries with many organisations,” said Dr Ng, as he pointed out that the Chinese leadership has not changed as much as the US leadership in the past 10 to 15 years.
“That’s not a criticism. That’s just a description of the systems,” he added.
For stability, Dr Ng suggested China and the US could each appoint a special envoy, to continue engagement despite flash points that may emerge.
He recalled the incidents involving an alleged Chinese spy balloon earlier this year and chilly bilateral talks in Alaska in 2021.
“It disrupts the whole process and each time it occurs, the US Secretary of Defense has said to me … the military-to-military talks stalled and you can’t make progress, similarly for the economic or other aspects,” said Dr Ng.
“So perhaps a special envoy of sorts could help that, but that is just one small suggestion in a very large sea of existing initiatives.”