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王賡武談新中關係

2016/12/4 — 2:23

前港大校長王賡武

前港大校長王賡武

前港大校長王賡武繼早前在海峽時報發表文章後,再在海峽時報訪問論及新中關係。

他在訪問中說,新加坡雖然是以華人為主的社會、中國大陸人對新加坡反應會有某種期望,但強調新加坡不是香港與台灣,因為對大陸人而言,這兩個地方屬於中國,而新加坡是獨立主權國家。

他認為,新加坡之於中國的價值,在於團結東盟的能力,而東盟團結對中國有利。

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Q: Just one related question on how China relates to Singapore and vice versa. Recently The Economist had a story about how China sees overseas Chinese, the diaspora, as one entity and that creates problems like with Hong Kong and Taiwan. Do you see that being a problem too for Singapore that they see us as majority ethnic Chinese and, therefore, should be in a better position to comprehend its actions and be more sympathetic?

A: I think it is quite right that the Chinese do expect people of Chinese descent in Singapore to understand China better than its neighbours. I think that's true, the Chinese will expect that.

But I think the Chinese do not mix Singapore up with Hong Kong and Taiwan. That's a very different story. Hong Kong and Taiwan, to the Chinese, is part of China and, therefore, they are subject to different sets of standards, different expectations of them and, therefore, the most sensitive area in all China's foreign relations frankly is Taiwan - it's not South-east Asia, it's not even North-east Asia - the issue of Taiwan and Taiwan is the key issue that is the most troubling and difficult and sensitive between the US and China and nothing compares with that in my mind.

So in that context, Singapore is not in that area of discussion or debate at all.

Singapore is important because Singapore actually offers to stand up to say they are trying to guide Asean towards unity, towards its future position of centrality of the region and the regional importance of South-east Asia if they stay united.

I think Singapore is quite right, it's in Singapore's interest to do it and Singapore is doing it probably through being hard-working, working too hard at this very difficult problem - but I think, quite rightly, they are paying attention to it.

And I think the Chinese do recognise that Singapore is in a position to make Asean work if Asean is going to work at all. Frankly, this is far from certain and I think everybody knows that it is a particularly difficult issue.

And I think China hopes that Asean can really be one. But they don't want Asean to be one which is leaning against them, they want them to be leaning for them - but that, of course, may not (be); it's not up to them to decide that and Asean's future does not (lie) in leaning to any side, but (in being) independent and separate, autonomous and capable of speaking with one voice - and that's the hardest of all.

Singapore is seen by many as one of the few countries that has that vision clearly in mind. Most of the other countries have so many problems of their own, they're not paying attention to Asean at all , whereas Singapore, I think, is the only country in Asean that is paying attention to Asean all the time because it is so central to Singapore's needs.

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