Some officials at the ASEAN summit were notably yawning at Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s boring speech on developments in the region. The Singapore dictator danced around straining diplomacy and the economic development in the region, giving nothing substantial or constructive insight to ASEAN members, US and China.
On the economic front, Lee Hsien Loong started his usual dopey praising about “promising prospects but with challenges”. Using buzzwords to make himself sound intelligible, the Singapore dictator sang about the obvious on “rules-based multilateral order”:
“ASEAN’s overall prospects are promising and the 10-member grouping could collectively be the world’s fourth largest economy by 2030. But, there are several challenges the regional bloc has to confront. The free and open, rules-based multilateral order that has underpinned the 10-member regional grouping’s growth and stability is fraying, and big power competition is pulling member states in different directions. Furthermore, there are non-traditional, transnational issues such as digital technologies and climate change, and these require closer cooperation.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong then setting goals for ASEAN “in the future”, when Singapore is no longer the leader of the ASEAN at the summit. The “goals”, again, are the obvious: increase trade, unity for ASEAN countries and increase digitization of economies. The Singapore dictator then sang sweet nothings about relationships with US and China, boring officials at the summit.
In contrast, the Philippines President called for US to stop their “war games” in South China Sea and criticised the US for increasing tensions in the region. The Philippines President said that his country would be the first to suffer if US and China clashes in the region, and warned that US should just accept China’s presence in South China Sea.
Malaysia’s PM Mahathir Mohamad also called for US to withdraw their warships. The 93-year-old Prime Minister saw a hero’s welcome at the summit with many, including the IMF chief, praising his feat in taking down Najib Razak’s corrupted regime.