Placeholder Image

字幕表 動画を再生する

  • Let me just begin with a few programming notes

  • since this is actually being filmed for television.

  • Please don't be upset if the prime minister looks more at me than at you.

  • The conversation is going to be recorded

  • for, what we at CNN like to call hundreds of millions of people.

  • The second point, if you can just turn off your cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPhones,

  • whatever you may have.

  • There was an incident recently in the New York Philharmonic,

  • where a gentleman kept his new iPhone on

  • and the conductor stopped the concert midway through,

  • and waited till the iPhone was turned off.

  • I will not do that. I promise you I won't embarrass you,

  • but if you can just take a moment. -I'll turn mine off too.

  • Do you know Prime Minister, I once asked,

  • this was many years ago when the BlackBerry had just been invented,

  • I asked Richard Holbrook, I said have you ever tried these, they are amazing,

  • they can keep all your contacts, all your calendars

  • and he said, I have something much better than this.

  • I said what? And he said, it's called staff.

  • I assumed that you had the same, so I assumed you didnג€™t have one.

  • All right, so we'll start.

  • It is a great pleasure to have with us Lee Hsien-Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore.

  • Welcome Prime Minister. -Hello.

  • You have always been a very careful watcher of the Chinese economy,

  • so I want to start by asking you, one of the great concerns people have,

  • looking out this year, is that the Chinese economy is going to slow down,

  • that it has built in certain excesses, that in order to get out of the financial crisis

  • the government over-spent, over-lent and that these excesses

  • are now going to bring some kind of a tough landing if not a hard landing in China,

  • what do you think?

  • I'm an optimist on this fundamentally.

  • I can't say that they'll be no bumps in the short-term,

  • but I think in the long-term the trend will be up. They've built a lot of infrastructure,

  • they have built a lot of capacity in many industries, autos,

  • some of electronic industries, but it's an economy which is growing very rapidly,

  • urbanizing very rapidly, needing a lot of facilities whether it's roads, hospitals,

  • schools, houses, by the millions, and every year one percent of the population

  • is moving into cities, which means 13 million people needing all this infrastructure.

  • So I think that there may be a rough landing, but they will get through it.

  • Do you get the sense that they are trying to shift from a model that is more oriented

  • towards exports to one where their own consumers spend more money and if so,

  • are they taking the measures needed to raise consumption in China?

  • I think they get it. They saw what happened to their exports in '08-'09,

  • when there was a global crisis and the exports plummeted.

  • They saw how vulnerable they were then and the mantra

  • that they must stimulate domestic demand is quite pervasive.

  • I'm not sure whether they've taken all the measures they need to do, that which has to do

  • with restructuring their social safety nets so people have confidence to spend.

  • It has to do with restructuring and tidying up their state own enterprises,

  • so that the profits are distributed and properly utilized.

  • Has to do with having the right balance between investment,

  • which they've done a lot of and consumption, which is a different thing,

  • which you have to have quite fundamental changes in order to cause happen.

  • So this will be work for the years to come.

  • And for the next leadership in China,

  • You have probably met many of these people, what do you think of this new generation

  • and do you think that we can see some bold new moves that people have long been predicting

  • or hoping for in China, either economic or even political?

  • The prospects of political change in China have been dangled before everybody

  • by people like premier Wen Jiabao.

  • I think there will be continuity between the present generation of leaders and the next.

  • Similar molds, the next generation came of age during the cultural revolution

  • some were sent down.

  • Some of them belong to the first vintage year of the university intake.

  • After universities re-opened when the cultural revolution ended.

  • In 1975, right?

  • '77, something around that. So very capable people, but I think they will be cautious,

  • I think it will be a collective leadership, rather than any single dominant personality,

  • which means that they will act cautiously.

  • They will need some time to find their feet, but I hope that they will address the problems

  • which some of which have been put off for over the last couple of years,

  • which are not easy to solve, they are both economic ones as well as political ones

  • and the present leadership, Hu Jintao, for example, has acknowledged these issues

  • and when they celebrated the 90th anniversary of the party last year,

  • he listed fundamental problems, including moral lassitude, including corruption,

  • including disconnect from the people

  • which really goes to the heart of the Communist Party to govern in China.

  • So they know these problems, they need to find the solutions.

  • But do you think the Communist Party can engage in serious political reform

  • without threatening its monopoly on power?

  • We will try very hard, nobody can say that they will succeed.

  • It's a society which is changing just like every other society in the world,

  • it's opening up. It's not a monolithic society at all.

  • The internet is pervasive. I think they have 400 million internet users or something,

  • more than America has.

  • It's a very diverse society. They speak up and when there public incidents now

  • you get mobilization rapidly and angst and unhappiness expressed,

  • even by people in the establishment, even the television news viewer shows her disapproval

  • of what she is reading. So that's a new world.

  • Let's talk about the other super power in the Pacific, the United States.

  • The United States went through a flurry of diplomatic activity,

  • political activity over the last three months.

  • The East Asia Summit , ASEAN, the proposal for this new trade area.

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership.

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a kind of military cooperation arrangement

  • that could be described as a military base in Australia.

  • Now, the Philippines are talking about perhaps having American troops back.

  • Do you think these moves are stabilizing the Asia-Pacific region?

  • We fundamentally think its good that America is interested in Asia

  • and in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • And their presence since the Second World War tremendous benign influence.

  • It's generated peace, stability, predictability and enable other countries

  • to prosper, including China and I think it's good that America

  • continues to take a close interest in the region, not just on security issues,

  • but also economic issues and cultural and on a broad range of areas.

  • But it cannot be for a few months at a time in a spasmodic style.

  • It has to be sustained over a long period of time, really over many administrations

  • and decades and America has got many preoccupations around the world,

  • so we hope on your busy plate Asia doesn't fall off the edge.

  • But we are naturally very happy that President Obama and Hillary Clinton have made the effort

  • and have put Asia quite high on the agenda. We hope it will be sustained.

  • Is there any prospect of American troops in Singapore?

  • We actually host facilities in Singapore and American ships and aircrafts

  • stop by from time to time and use those facilities.

  • That's different from having a naval base.

  • And a naval base would be a bridge too far?

  • A naval base would be twice as big as Singapore. It can't be done.

  • You've reclaimed lots of land to build casinos,

  • you could probably build a naval base.

  • But let me ask you about the Chinese reaction.

  • The Chinese reaction to this same flurry of diplomacy and these new agreements

  • has been somewhat cautious and in some cases hostile.

  • Their official position is that they are very happy to have more members

  • join the East Asia Summit and America is welcome to join and Russia is welcome to join

  • and Europe is welcome to join as well and the more the merrier.

  • That's the official position.

  • The private position probably is a weariness, they are watching,

  • they think that there will be people in America who are not quite happy

  • that China is prospering and would like to hinder that process.

  • And they will not want to let those people succeed.

  • So I think that there is cooperation, but there is also watchfulness on both sides.

  • Do you think that Barack Obama has pursued a successful foreign policy

  • in the part of the world you care about?

  • I think he has put a lot of attention on it and the outcome has been constructive.

  • These are issues which need long-term management,

  • and the most important item to be managed is America's relationship with China

  • and it hasn't come to blows, although there has been tension and that's a positive.

  • Do you worry about the rise of protectionism?

  • If you listen to the United States, President Obama's state of the union,

  • he had a few tough things to say about China,

  • but if you listen to Mitt Romney, who until yesterday was the punitive republican nominee,

  • he has some very tough things to say about China,

  • particularly unusual coming from a republican.

  • Does listening to all that for a place like Singapore,

  • which so depends on free trade, scare you?

  • Some of it is election year rhetoric in America,

  • but I think the general mood in America on free trade has been negative for some time

  • because of uncertainties brought on by globalization,

  • because workers haven't seen an upside in terms of their wages,

  • they're worried that their jobs are insecure and they could get retrenched

  • because industries may move off-shore and jobs are not being created in America

  • in the same way in a very large scale as they used to.

  • When you make an Apple I-phone for example,

  • the pieces come from all over the world, they are not made in America.

  • So that's an underlying mood which worries us and which,

  • I think, constrains the administration when it comes to free trade

  • and one of the reasons why we are not getting anywhere with the Doha Round under the WTO.

  • It's perhaps also the reason why the administration

  • has decided to proceed on this Trans-Pacific Partnership

  • as the one significant trade initiative.

  • We hope they persevere and they don't take too hard a line

  • and are able to come up with a constructive outcome.

  • When you look at the outlook for the next few years,

  • do you feel that you will be able to continue to grow and prosper in a booming Asia?

  • What keeps you up at night?

  • Well, I think Asia will boom. There will be ups and downs.

  • We will be affected by Europe, if Europe goes bump in the night,

  • but if it doesn't, well there's a certain momentum and the countries in China,

  • in India, in South-East Asia, which will help to carry us forward.

  • What worries us in Singapore is not that the world will not prosper,

  • in the ups and downs of the world, a small boat like Singapore with not very much room

  • to maneuver, can you make sure that every time you catch a wave head on

  • and you are not flipped over. Because once we are flipped over that's it.

  • When you look at the American debate, one of the things that is often talked about

  • is this issue of out-sourcing, moving factories off-shore,

  • and if you look through the specifics, you often find companies

  • that are trying to figure out where to locate and Asian governments will often offer

  • very rich inducements to these companies to move their factories to Asia

  • including the Singapore government.

  • So do American State governments.

  • So you think you're just playing the same game that Americans...

  • We are trying not to play the same game. My attitude is,

  • I am prepared to forgive you taxes if you come,

  • but I won't give you money if you lose money.

  • So I'm prepared, if you have powerful, if you are in such great demand,

  • I may not be able to levy my full pound of flesh on you,

  • but I see no reason why I should give you money to come to Singapore,

  • through some grant or subsidy or some other scheme

  • when in fact you're not creating economic value for Singapore.

  • What would you advise...

  • So some projects we'd like to have, but we have decided how generous we are able to be

  • and they've gone elsewhere and our people pursuing investments,

  • the Economic Development Board, are sometimes disappointed,

  • but I think there has to be a limit otherwise you are taken to the cleaners.

  • What would you advise President Obama, if he's trying to revive manufacturing.

  • One of the things Asian countries have done very successfully

  • has been to adopt industrial policies where the state in some way or the other

  • provides help, incentives, tax subsidies of various kinds to industries,

  • and has been quite successful.

  • Should America have a more kind of nationally planned industrial policy?

  • No, I don't think I would describe it as industrial policy.

  • I would describe it as investing in the preconditions

  • to enable a wide range of industries to develop, take root

  • and some of them to prosper.

  • So invest in education. Invest in infrastructure.

  • Invest in building up a financial system,

  • which can support your manufacturing activities.

  • Make sure your government is clean and efficient and forward looking

  • so that you anticipate the next bump in the road and smooth the road for your industries.

  • Then the industries will prosper, but you need to have hard working people,

  • well trained people, disciplined people, unions who understand what this is about

  • and will work with employers to bring this about.

  • And that is a work of several administrations.

  • The World Economic Form has this list of global risks

  • and I was struck by the fact that the number one risk on its list is rising inequality

  • and it's happening of course in the United States where there's this big debate...

  • All over the world.

  • But it is happening everywhere and I was wondering

  • if you would reflect on what it means and what you can do about it

  • because you yourself have had to deal with this in Singapore

  • where you have this long tradition of paying public servants very well,

  • which is why you have one of the lowest level of corruption in the world.

  • It's one of the reasons.

  • But one of the things that you have had to do was in response to some public outcry

  • you've had to cut the salaries of public sector employees including your own.

  • No, no, only of the ministers not of the civil servants.

  • So why did you do it?

  • Well, it became an issue during the elections.

  • There are reasons for needing to pay people well, pay people properly are well established,

  • because you must pay commensurate with the responsibility of the job,

  • and commensurate with the quality of the person you are looking for to do that job.

  • And the job is vital because you make a wrong decision

  • it's billions of dollars and you put the wrong man in, that's a disaster.

  • And anybody who comes in must make a calculation,

  • must think what are the financial implications, not just for him,