US should 'attune itself to China's rise'

US should 'attune itself to China's rise'
A woman visits the Singapore booth at the third Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services in May.

The United States must understand and accept that China's rise is inevitable, and both countries, one an established and the other an emerging power, must find an accommodation, Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said.

Shanmugam, who has just concluded a visit to China, was interviewed by China Daily in Beijing on Thursday.

History has a number of examples where this type of accommodation has failed to materialize and led to catastrophic consequences.

So the big question is what sort of accommodation can China and the US establish, Shanmugam said.

His comments came as Washington's Asia pivot and China's growing clout in the Asia-Pacific region have resulted in increased regional tension, with countries in the region expressing growing concern about stability.

During the Shangri-La security dialogue in May, a "war of words" erupted between China, the US and other nations with competing maritime claims.

As an Asian country with long-established contacts with the West, Singapore feels it is able to utilize its unique position and act as a bridge for countries in and outside the region.

Calling Singapore a friend of China, Shanmugam said China should try various routes to address issues relating to other countries, while outsiders must realise the huge domestic challenges it faces.

China now faces an aging society, the underdeveloped western region and income disparity, and sovereignty issues that cannot be compromised.

"China doesn't seek or want a troublesome external environment. So how do you make sure it's not troublesome? It is going to require wisdom, tact and diplomacy," Shanmugam said.

The Asia-Pacific region, while becoming the world's economic engine, is seeing profound geopolitical changes. In addition to the impact of the US Asia-pivot policy, Japan, after six decades of the Pacifist Constitution, is reconsidering the role it can play in regional security, amid an islands dispute with China.

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