SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted three "critical risks" facing the world today at the inaugural Singapore Summit, "Global-Asia Confluence" Friday evening at Shangri-La Hotel.
Addressing the delegates, PM Lee surmised his thoughts on state of present global affairs and the challenges that the Republic would face in the future.
Though the past two decades have seen an unprecedented flows of talent, capital and ideas internationally, he said that we should not assume the trend would continue as "history is never so predictable" and "the world and Asia are now at crossroads".
Then, he identified three risks in particular that the world could face today, with two coming from Asia itself.
Firstly, he talked about how the economic troubles in Europe and US are "structural and deep-seated".
Therefore, the recovery will be a "long and painful" process which will affect inter-related linked financial markets in the world.
PM Lee also warned about the threat of advanced economies diminishing and thus, delivering "a big impact on rest of the world, particularly Asia".
The following two risks concerning Asia lies in rising nationalism and changes in strategic balance deriving from a strengthening China.
Rising nationalism could stem from various reasons and may jeopardise the overall peace and stability with tensions and conflicts.
China's bilateral relationship with the US "has made some Americans anxious" as the Chinese progresses ahead. Their relationship has to be managed well, or it could bring about "big problems for the whole world".
On another topic, he touched on globalisation and noted how one-third of the world now interacts via social media.
He said though this may open up many doors for integration between countries and businesses, it can also develop negative impacts. He encouraged the exploitation of internet and social media but to caution against misuse.
PM Lee noted that globalisation has benefited Asia and the world greatly in terms of investment, knowledge and technology sharing; but it has also help to affect change towards humanity. He reinforced his statement with an example of poverty reduction for more than 500 million Chinese and Indians.
The three-day conference was chaired by former Cabinet minister George Yeo and attended by over 300 advisers and friends of various Singapore financial and economic agencies and institutions.
Other distinguished speakers at the conference included former Australian prime minister John Howard and World Trade Organisation director-general Pascal Lamy.