Think Tank (6/2022)
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Navigating US-China Geo-Economic and Technological Competition
02 Nov 2022

RSIS convened experts from China, the United States and the region to discuss “Navigating US-China Geo-Economic and Technological Competition” at a workshop held on 2 November 2022 at the PARKROYAL Collection Marina Bay.

The first panel, consisting of Dr Evan Medeiros and Dr Wang Huiyao, addressed the day’s agenda by assessing the degree of decoupling between China and the United States, as well as the more bifurcated global trading system that may emerge.

The second panel, comprising Dr Marty Natalegawa, Mr Shahriman Lockman, and Mr Sihasak Phuangketkeow, examined Southeast Asia’s reaction and possible responses. Discussions also covered the regional fallout of US-China geo-economic and tech competition, including the extent to which actors in Southeast Asia can ameliorate the competitive dynamics between China and the United States.

The speakers recognised that the “domestic factor” in the Chinese and American context played a prominent role in shaping the US-China competitive trajectory. It also limited ASEAN’s ability to act cohesively as a unified bloc, because leaders were pressured to orientate their policies away from regional concerns for more insular ones. Nonetheless, this is not to entirely refute ASEAN’s strengths but to call for greater proactivity in ameliorating US-China relations.

The workshop also touched on Singapore’s manoeuvrability in the face of ratcheting Sino-American competition. The speakers agreed that while Singapore had limited agency to shape this competition, Singapore can still aid in the global process of norms-setting and technical knowledge.

Amb Ong Keng Yong, in his closing remarks, reaffirmed the salient need for constructive ways to coexist in an international climate dominated by the two superpowers.

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