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THE 3rd Hong Kong Forum was organised by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges with its theme “Beyond Differences, Towards Cooperation”. Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong delivered remarks virtually at the 3-day event which began on 16th January 2022. The speakers included former Chinese vice premier Zeng Peiyan.

Mr Zeng said there was potential for more cooperation in areas of shared interests, such as pandemic control, climate change, economy and trade, global governance, and science and technology.

ESM Goh remarked “If trust is the currency of the realm, then the main deficit in the geopolitical ledger is the mutual strategic distrust between the US and China. It stems from a difference in values, ideologies, worldviews, political systems, and perspectives on global governance. If this distrust cannot be overcome, the world will be condemned like Sisyphus to roll the boulder of a contentious US-China relationship up a hill for eternity.”

ESM Goh also offered some suggestions on how best to move forward and asked “What now? Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the US’ approach to China will be “competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be and adversarial when it must be”. Building on this frame, I suggest that the US and China should “Avoid Conflict over Differences, Embrace Healthy Competition, and Maximise Cooperation. My biggest concern is whether My biggest concern is whether Taiwan becomes a casus belli. I do not think the Mainland wants to invade Taiwan and reunify it through force. However, if it sees no prospect for peaceful reunification, it may believe it has no choice. “

For the full transcript of ESM Goh’s remarks click here