Singapore warns US against anti-China election rhetoric

Singapore's Foreign Minister K Shanmugam speaking at the Singapore Conference in Washington DC on 8 February, 2012
Image caption Singapore's Foreign Minister K Shanmugam said talk of containing China could be misinterpreted

Singapore's Foreign Minister K Shanmugam has warned the United States against anti-China rhetoric.

He was speaking at a think tank conference in Washington DC on Wednesday, at the end of a one-week visit to meet senior officials.

''Domestic pressures in the US and the demands of elections have resulted in some anti-China rhetoric in domestic debates,'' he said.

His comments came ahead of a three-day visit to China, beginning on Thursday.

''Americans should not underestimate the extent to which such rhetoric can spark reaction which can create a new and unintended reality for the region," he said.

He was delivering the opening speech at the the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Singapore Conference. His address focused mainly on key developments in Asia, including the US emphasis on the region, and strategic US-Singapore relations.

Singapore has maintained close relations with Washington on both economic and defence fronts. But the city-state is also a major trading partner with China.

In the past week, he met Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, key members of the US congress and senior officials, as well as members of think tanks and media.

In China, he will meet Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, his counterpart Yang Jiechi, and other top Chinese officials.

There is also a tendency, he added, in the media, to portray politics in ''win-lose sporting terms'' and the US engagement in Asia ''as a means to contain China''.

''Such rhetoric is a mistake on many levels,'' he said. ''The world and Asia are big enough to accommodate a rising China and a reinvigorated US.''

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