December 04
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The golden age of globalization is over, the world is undergoing a fundamental change, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Singapore Lawrence Wong said, CNBC reports.

Although countries have not fully retreated to protectionism, geopolitical tensions are increasingly affecting business, Wong said during a dialogue at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore, referring to tensions between the United States and China.

He said Singapore and the rest of ASEAN want a balanced relationship with both the U.S. and China and prefer that the two countries engage with the region in substance rather than through the lens of U.S.-China relations.

“Where previously the logic was, countries do not have to be friends to do business with one another. In fact, the hope was that the more we trade and invest in each other, we will tamp down geopolitical rivalry,” Wong said.

“Remember the McDonald’s theory that where we have McDonald’s everywhere, there will be no war? Well, that was history and the end of history.”

If these events normalize, he said, the world will become more dangerous and divided.

Singapore will continue to work with both the U.S. and China without taking sides, Wong said, adding that a possible meeting between the two leaders is encouraging. "“With that ability to come together to meet in person, there will be an ability to establish a new modus vivendi between the two countries, recognizing that really, the world is big enough for China and the U.S. and the two countries do not have to define their relationship in adversarial terms,” Wong said.

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