China needs to master English, says MM Lee

Singapore's bilingual experience a useful example

SINGAPORE - Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew says China needs to master English to grow economically.

Speaking at the inaugural FutureChina Global Forum Meeting, Mr Lee said mastering bilingualism is difficult but China has to create an English-speaking environment to master the language.

During the forum, Mr Lee also tackled a host of other issues, ranging from United States-China relations to political succession in China and bilingualism.

Organised by Business China, the theme of the forum was "Strategic Insights for riding China's next decade".

Responding to a question, Mr Lee said the role of the US as a world power will change in about two decades' time and it has to come to terms with China becoming a super power.

He said that the US knows that China's gross domestic product will be greater in 20 to 30 years' time.

And while ties between the two superpowers fluctuate, Singapore will not be affected said Mr Lee.

Singapore, Mr Lee said, keeps an equal distance between China and the US.

On the situation in East Asia, Mr Lee said regardless of political and other non-confluence interests, China, South Korea and Japan will not be able to form a centre of power.

He said the sheer proximity of South Korea and Japan to China will mean that the two countries will ride on China's growth.

However, Mr Lee said this does not mean Japan will align itself with China politically. He pointed out that Japan and South Korea will continue to have close ties with the US.

Mr Lee also touched on political succession in China.

He pointed out that China's next leadership succession is already in place and that the country is not short of outstanding leaders.

But Mr Lee noted that corruption will be China's greatest problem.

Doing business in China requires connections, but Chinese officials understand that Singaporean businessmen are reliable and not corrupt.

He said: "The Taiwanese are ruthless, Hong Kongers are shameless and Singaporeans are ignorant. People who are ignorant are not corrupt and reliable."

The Link,-says-MM-Lee