LKY’s speech in US draws flak online in China

November 3, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Malaysia Insider

Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s comments that the United States should remain engaged in East Asia have drawn criticism on the website of a state-owned newspaper in China.

The Chinese-language Global Times, a sister publication of the flagship People’s Daily noted for its international coverage, said it reported on Sunday a speech Lee made in Washington last week, and within hours, it claimed to have received more than 500 comments online.

In his keynote address delivered at the US-Asean Business Council’s 25th anniversary gala dinner last Thursday in Washington, Lee said the US should remain engaged in Asia. “The size of China makes it impossible for the rest of Asia, including Japan and India, to match it in weight and capacity in about 20 to 30 years. So we need America to strike a balance.”

He also warned Washington that it risked losing its global leadership if it did not remain engaged in Asia.

Lee was conferred a lifetime achievement award for helping to foster US-Asean relations at the dinner last week.

Many of those who responded were upset and said that Lee had treated the Chinese as outsiders although they had treated Singaporeans as “among their own”.

“Lee Kuan Yew spoke for the feeling of those in the West who fear China’s rise would harm their vested interests,” said one netizen.

Another described Lee as “a political animal”, saying that while he “relies on China to develop his country’s economy, he is ushering wolves here to deal with China”.

A third posting said: “Just because he has achieved some success in Singapore, he dares to play the guiding light that shows US the way. If he has the stuff, he should go to Africa and offer tips on how to shake off poverty and achieve wealth.”

Another posting brushed off his comments as insignificant as Singapore was a small country.

“Lee Kuan Yew had made such comments likely because Singapore is a small country that needs an interplay of balances in the international arena,” said the netizen.

“However, what significance do his words carry when the reality is that for a voice to be heard and the views realised, one needs to be truly powerful,” the netizen asked.