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THE INTERVIEW

'This trade war doesn't benefit anyone', says Singapore's deputy PM

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, expressed hope that US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would soon be able to resolve their differences on trade. He welcomed the three-month pause in tariffs, but pointed out that current tensions over global trade were endangering open economies such as Singapore's, and that keeping a multilateral trading system was essential. "This trade war doesn’t benefit anyone", he said.

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Singapore's Deputy PM Teo Chee Hean admitted that tensions in the South China Sea between China and its neighbours, as well as between Beijing and Washington, were also a source of concern. He said he hoped China and the members of ASEAN would be able to agree on a "code of conduct" in the South China Sea within three years.

Teo said that while Singapore hosted the first summit between Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong un and a second summit between them is being discussed, Singapore had not been asked to host that second summit.

He stressed that the first summit held in Singapore back in June had lowered tensions and helped avoid a potential military clash on the Korean Peninsula.

Singapore's deputy PM also hailed the strategic partnership with France and held out hope that President Emmanuel Macron will soon visit his country, after being invited by Singapore's prime minister.

Asked about the "yellow vest" protest movement in France and whether it had a broader meaning, Teo noted that rising inequalities and how to address them was a key priority for governments around the world, stressing that education and professional training were key to ensuring opportunities for all.

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