夹在中美之间的新加坡 特朗普时代的新加坡的未来

10-12 70 19704 上杭纯曦
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The eagle, the lion and the dragon: Singapore's future in the age of Trump


(CNN)Caught between anascendent China and anincreasingly unreliable United States,Singapore's diplomatic futureis at the heart of a debate on who really calls the shots in Asia.


The Lion City hashistorically had strong relations with both countries, an ally in Asia forWashington during the Cold War and one of China's first partners in theirefforts to modernize their economy. Over the years Singaporehas been very good at picking "the middle path" between the twosuperpowers, analysts tell CNN, balancing their positive relationships withboth America and China.


But as new US President Donald Trump's attention drifts andChinese leader Xi Jinping grows more powerful, Singapore finds itself in a tenuousposition.
"If anyone can dothis balancing act, Singaporecan," Kerry Brown, director of the Lau China Institute at King's CollegeLondon, told CNN.
"IfSingaporecan't, no one can."


In 2015, China's Xi demonstrated how highly Singapore sat in Beijing'sestimation when he held a landmark meeting with then President of Taiwan MaYing-jeou in the city.


The mouse who roared
Just seven years ago itseemed like Singapore'spath was stable and secure.
"Weare in Asia; Asia is booming," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview in 2010.
"China is a big story and a major trading partnerfor us, but China is not thewhole story ... Americaplays a role in Asia which Chinacannot replace, and nobody can replace."


Singapore, which marksits National Day August 9, is politically and geographically unique. The South East Asiannation, which is home to a majority ethnic Chinese population, is the onlycountry in the world to have both English and Mandarin among its officiallanguages.
Witha population of five million, the Lion City is also a international financialhub and a fiercely free market.


As its neighbors havesuccumbed to successive waves of political and financial turmoil, Singaporehas remained prosperous and stable."It's a bridge between the West and theEast," Wang Yiwei, professor at the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China said.


Singapore sits on one of theworld's most valuable trade routes, the Straits of Malacca, through which a huge portion of Asia's oil flowsevery day. The formerBritish colony is today one of the one of the richest countries in the world, in terms of GDP per capita.


In 2015, hundreds ofbillions of dollars in exports and imports poured through Singapore's teeming waterways, consistently the second busiest container portin the world after Shanghai.
Politically, Singaporeregularly punches above its weight. The city state was a founding member ofASEAN, the powerful grouping of south-east Asian nations including Indonesia and the Philippines, and since 2010 has often been invited to participatein G20 events.
CNNcontacted Singapore'sForeign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan for this story but he didn't respond to arequest for comment.


Powerful friends
The country's powerdoesn't just come from its wealth but also from the powerful friendships it hasmade with the world's two largest superpowers.


Singapore has close historic andmilitary ties to the United States,forged during the Cold War when former leader Lee Kuan Yew took a firm standagainst communism in South East Asia.
"Whenthe United States wasfighting the Vietnam war, Singaporeoffered a place for US troops to come for their vacation, sometimes dock theirships and refuel their aircraft," Chong Ja Ian, associate professor atNational University of Singapore's Department of Political Science, said.


Today, it hosts a US air and naval presence, including the Littoral Combat ship USSCoronado, and more than 1,000 active duty and civilian personnel,who provide repairs and resupply to members of the US's 7th Fleet.


USPresident Donald Trump and Singapore Prime Minister Lee meet at the G20 Summitin Germany, July 8.


Despite Lee's firmstance against communism, Singaporewas also quick to embrace Chinaonce it began to open up economically in the 1980s under then-paramount leaderDeng Xiaoping.
"Singaporeseized the opportunity for working with the Chinese ... in terms of friendshipit blossomed very quickly, not just because of of the economic opportunitiesbut linguistic similarities that made it a bit easier for them to enter theChinese market earlier," Chong said.


The tactic paid off:China and the United States are today two of Singapore's largest tradingpartners, according to UN numbers. A full quarter of Singapore's exports, about $60 billion, aredestined for China and HongKong while $30 billion of its imports flood in from the United States.
Wangsaid Singapore is also animportant hub for two of China'smajor political and economic initiatives in the region -- the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Xi's One Belt One Road global investment strategy.


"It's very natural... Singapore is a veryimportant international trade and finance center not only in China but also for other countries(in the region)," he said.

“这是很自然的……在国际贸易和金融方面,新加坡不但对中国来说很重要,对地区的其他地区也一样重要。” 他说

But in the past year,amid the rise of both Trump and an assertive Beijing, Singapore'sposition has become less simple.


"China sees Singaporeas being too close to Americaand there's a sense in which that's correct," said Michael Barr, associateprofessor of International Relations at Adelaide'sFlinders University and author of "TheRuling Elite of Singapore."


Barr said Singapore is uncomfortable with theunpredictability of President Trump, whose country the Lion Statestill relies heavily on for their ongoing security. "This is theirdilemma. There is not a lot they can do about pulling back from America ... (but) they know full well that inthe long term they have to orient towards China," he said.


'Cranky bear in a smallcave'


As with so muchpolitical wrangling in South East Asia, Singapore's problems began with theSouth China Sea.Relations between Singaporeand Chinacertainly haven't always been smooth. At an ASEAN meeting in Vietnam in 2010, incensed by discussions overthe South China Sea, then-China foreignminister Yang Jiechi issued a warning to the Singaporeanminister in attendance.
"Chinais a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's just afact," he said to the crowded room.


Six years later, Singapore urged Chinato abide by a UN arbitration on the South China Sea, which was originally filed by the Philippines despite huge protests from Beijing.
China immediately plungedrelations with Singaporeinto a deep chill.


In November 2016, nineof Singapore's armored troopcarriers were impounded for two months in Hong Kong on their way back from Taiwan. It waswidely seen as a slap on the wrist by Chineseauthorities.


While in May 2017, Singapore'sPrime Minister Lee was conspicuously absent from China's One Belt One Road Forum in Beijing,despite being an early supporter of the initiative.


Singapore's relations with China appear tohave since begun to improve. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has accepted an invitation to visit thecity state andPresident Xi had a friendly chat withSingapore's leader on the sidelines of the G20 in July.


But the freeze showed Chinais fully willing to exercise its ever-growing regional and international poweragainst countries who go against its interests.


"China has reached the stage ... where they feelthat they can dictate to smaller powers the relationship they will have with China, and if they wish to exercise levels ofindependence then Chinawill decide how far they can go," Barr said. "It will be more and more like living with a cranky bear ina small cave."


The age of Trump
In the past, Singapore's strong security alliance with the United Stateshelped temper concerns regarding China.But that's no longer the case. "Noone (in Asia) really knows what's happening in Washington," explained Brown. "Singaporeare very aware they can't make any assumptions now, their assumption for thepast 50 years is that keep close to the Americans no matter what. But now thebig boys are acting in a very unpredictable way."The new US presidenthasn't visited the Lion State but his Secretary of Defense James Mattis swungby in June for the annual Shangri-La Dialogue Asian Security Summit.

过去,新加坡因为和美国有牢固的同盟关系而不用太担心中国的“脾气”。”是现在情况不一样了,亚洲国家不知道华盛顿下一步会怎么走。” 布朗说,“新加坡很清楚地知道,它没有能力作出准确的预测, 过去的50年的做法是唯美国马首是瞻。但是现在,美国的政策充满着不确定性。”美国总统还没有访问过狮城,虽然国防部长詹姆斯·马蒂斯在一年一度的香格里拉亚洲安全峰会中到访过新加坡。

"Once we'veexhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing. Wewill still be there," he said, pledging to stand by Washington'sallies in Asia.But experts havequestioned whether the Obama Administration'shighly publicized pivot to Asia would survive under PresidentTrump.


There may also be starkpolicy disagreements between the two countries, on a topic they were previouslyin lockstep.Singapore is one of the world's staunchest defenders of the freetrade, because without it the tiny city-state would not be able to exist.


Trump has promised an"America First" trade policy, more focused on one-on-one trade deals and possibletariffs, as well as raising the question of embargoes against China."Trumpon his own has the capacity to take away any good and sensible reason for Singapore and most of Asia to maintain relationswith the US,"Barr said."If he seriously goes down the path of closing down free trade,putting up obstacles, being an unreliable ally ... I can see not just Singapore but the whole of South East Asialining up with China."


'Singapore is not unique'
Singapore is not alone inconsidering what Asia's future will look like with a dominant China and an inward-looking United States."Philippines, Malaysia,all across the region there's been a real push (by Beijing)," Brown said. "Singapore is not unique, it's just because Singapore'sbeen so adept at balancing (both sides)."


One of the first signsof a closer relationship between Singaporeand Beijing would be any changes to their military exercises withTaiwan, a sensitivetopic between the two countries, as China views it as a breakawayprovince.


Singapore's famous Merlion (C) infront of the city's skyline in February, 2015.
"I think there isan awareness that at the end of the day the relationship with China is somuch more important than anything else, in terms of economics, so they mightthink of this as something of a tradeoff," Brown said.


But already Singapore'srhetoric has begun to change. In his Singapore National Day speech in 2016,Prime Minister Lee's language had come a long way from his 2010 interview,where he said China couldnever replace the US."Weare friends with both America and with China ... Both believe the Pacific isvast enough to accommodate both powers and President Xi said recently thatAmerica and China should "cultivate common circles of friends," he told his countrymen.
"Thatis precisely what Singapore'strying to do."

2010的新加坡国庆致辞中李显龙曾经说过:中国永远不能取代美国。不过现在,新加坡的语气已经发生了变化。在2016年新加坡的国庆日演讲中,这样对他的国民说: “我们和美国,中国都是朋友,……,中美两国都相信太平洋足够大,可以容纳两个大国,并且中国最近也说中美要培养和扩大共同的朋友圈,这也是新加坡正在努力做的。”

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