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August 23, 2013

MFA Spokesman's Comments in response to media queries on the Global Times website article “Lee Hsien Loong: China could gain Diaoyu Islands but lose its international standing” dated 21 August 2013

In response to media queries on the Global Times website article “Lee Hsien Loong: China could gain Diaoyu Islands but lose its international standing” dated 21 August 2013, the MFA Spokesman said:

The Global Times website article on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's remarks at the 19th Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia is inaccurate and misleading. Using a sensationalist headline, the article took Prime Minister Lee's comments completely out of context and grossly distorted and misreported what he said. Such unprofessional reporting is unhelpful and could harm bilateral relations and affect people-to-people ties.

PM Lee was asked whether it was necessary for countries to cooperate together to have 'close enclosure' against China. PM Lee decisively rejected this approach, and said that this would not be helpful, and that he would not criticise China. PM Lee made a number of additional comments including the following : countries in the region benefitted from China's development; China itself saw it necessary to develop peacefully in a way which was non-threatening to its neighbours; and China will calculate that any gains from a non-peaceful approach to territorial disputes will have to be weighed against broader implications for its reputation and standing in the world. Thus, it would not be "constructive" to say "let us make a friendship amongst all the countries which are frightened of China."

PM Lee spoke on the record, openly, in front of international journalists. His comments were made as a good friend of China and put across China’s position fairly. The transcript of the relevant sections of PM Lee's remarks is attached. Any dispassionate observer will conclude that PM Lee was balanced in his assessment. PM Lee was trying to be helpful, not stir up tensions.

外交部发言人声明

针对媒体询问有关《环球网》2013年8月21日撰文“李显龙:中国可能得到钓鱼岛 但会输掉世界地位”,外交部发言人表示:

《环球网》对李显龙总理于今年5月在第19届《日本经济新闻》亚洲未来国际大会的谈话所作出的报道,是一则不准确并且具有误导性的报道。有关文章采用耸动的标题,对李总理的谈话断章取义,严重歪曲,失实报道。这样不专业的报道,不仅对双边关系无益,更可能伤害两国关系及影响两国人民之间的联系。

李总理的谈话,其实是在回答有关“国家之间是否有必要携手合作包围中国”的提问。总理当时果断地拒绝采用这个方法,同时表明这么做没有益处,而他也不会批评中国。李总理在会上也针对多个课题发表了看法,其中包括中国的发展让区域国家从中受益;中国本身也看到需要在不对邻近国家造成威胁的情况下和平发展。中国会衡量,任何通过非和平的途径解决区域争端所带来的利益,必须与其对自己的国家名誉及世界上的地位所造成的广泛影响进行权衡比较。因此,“让所有害怕中国的国家结成友好联盟”,是一项毫无建设性的提议。
李总理的这番谈话是在公开场合发表,当时既有国际媒体工作人员在场,同时也记录在案。他以中国的好朋友这个身份,公正地阐述中国的立场。以下是李总理在大会上发表谈话的相关节录。任何不带偏见的观察者都会认为李总理的评价均衡,没有丝毫偏差。李总理的谈话意在缓和而非煽动紧张局势。

Transcript of relevant sections of PM Lee's remarks
李总理的谈话节录

X X X X X

Moderator: “Education, culture, economics, politics, whatever. So we are interested in…we have a new government here, the Abe administration, and of the China and North Korea, sort of taking that posture towards Abe’s administration. Because Mr Abe seems to be interested in amendment of the Constitution and more independence and that is supposed to be the right-wing now, national union kind of sentiment, is just taking a spring in the Japanese public opinion. And now, we have something to do with the new government. We are interested in how it is the Japanese new government is viewed from the ASEAN nations, particularly your country.”

主持人:“教育,文化,经济,政治,等等。我们感兴趣的是......在这里 (日本),我们刚成立了新政府,由安倍为首,中国和朝鲜对安倍政府,持有某种态度。由于安倍先生似乎有意修改宪法和争取更多自主性,而这被视为是偏向右翼,团结全国的情绪,正开始在日本舆论普及开来。而现在,我们感兴趣的是,亚细安国家,尤其是新加坡,对日本这届新政府有何看法。”

PM Lee: “Well, I think ASEAN in general and Singapore in particular, we work with the governments of each country as chosen by those countries. And it is the way that democracies work - you elect your government, your government has the responsibility to make decisions for your country and prerogative to decide which direction you want to go. And I think that is our attitude. Specifically on the question you raised on the nationalist sentiments and the questions of constitutional amendment, I would say that this is the prerogative of the countries to decide how they want their constitutions to be and is also the responsibility of the governments to make the wisest choice on these issues.

World War II was a massive event for Japan…After the war, it took a long time for relations between Japan and its neighbours to come back to normal because there was not a reconciliation process that happened in Europe. In Europe, the Germans, they repudiated the Nazis, they repudiated Adolf Hitler. Every school child grows up knowing that that was a bad period, those were bad people. Germany was now into a new phase. And if you read the French textbooks or the German textbooks, you will get more or less the same story of the Second World War. Maybe not be exactly the same perspective, but basically the same story. It did not happen in Asia between Japan and its neighbours.

Many years have passed. As I said just now, the strategic situation is completely different. The populations have grown up. It is a new generation. So it is not the same situation as before. In the case of Singapore, the first generation who lived through the war and the very difficult conditions when the Japanese invaded Singapore, they will never forget the experience. Every year on the anniversary of the fall of Singapore, 15th February, the old people go there to remember the relatives who died and they weep. So they will never forget. My parent’s generation will never forget until the day they die because they lived through that, they know what it was.
My generation did not live through that, but we know from our fathers what it was like and their stories. If my father had been taken away, he would not have come back and I would not be here today. My uncle, my mother’s brother, was taken away and never came back. So these memories move some. My children’s generation, they don’t have those memories, not even second-hand; maybe third-hand. So we have moved on. And as a society, we have moved on.

In the 1960s, there was a period when we discovered the mass graves where the civilians had been massacred in Singapore. There was an outcry. I remember the day because I saw them coming to dig up the graves next to my school. There was a big outcry, I think the Japanese government made an apology, donated some money and we built a memorial. So between Singapore and Japan, the chapter is closed. Officially, we have moved on. And we have very good relations between Singapore and Japan since then - investments, trade, cooperation in many areas.

I think with other countries in Asia, you have not reached that point. Certainly with China, you are nowhere near that point. With Korea, you have not reached that point. So if you reopen the old subjects - whether it is comfort women, whether it is aggression, whether there is an apology or no apology – well, it is your prerogative to do so, but you have to consider whether this will be helpful in the context of your relations with other Asian countries and whether it is the most important thing you want to do. But that is for Japan to decide.”

李总理:“嗯,我觉得亚细安整体而言,特别是新加坡,我们都会与这些国家所选择的政府合作。这是民主国家运行的方式 - 你推选出你的政府,你的政府就有责任为国家做出决定,有权力决定国家要走的方向。我认为这就是我们的态度。你提到有关民族主义情绪和宪法修正案的问题,我认为决定自己的宪法是每个国家的权力,可是每个政府也有责任在这些问题上,作出最明智的决定。

第二次世界大战对日本而言是一个重大事件。战争结束后,日本和其邻国之间的关系,花了很长的时间才慢慢恢复正常,因为不像在欧洲,这里没有出现和解的进程。在欧洲,德国人批判了纳粹,他们批判了希特勒。每一个学童,在成长的过程中知道那是一个糟糕的时期,他们都是坏人。德国现在正进入一个新阶段。如果你阅读法国或是德国的教科书,你将从中获得有关第二次世界大战的相同故事。也许观点不完全相同,但基本上是同样的历史事迹。这并没有在亚洲发生,没有在日本和其邻国之间出现。

经过这么多年,正如我刚才说的,现在的局势是完全不同的。各国人民已经长大了。这是新的一代。所以眼前的情况和以前不同。在新加坡,经历战争的第一代人永远不会忘记当年日军侵占新加坡的悲惨事迹。每年的2月15日,在纪念新加坡沦陷的活动上,年长的一辈会去那里(纪念碑)追悼已故的亲人,有些甚至会哭泣。因此,他们永远都不会忘记。我的父辈会永远铭记这段历史,直到他们离开人世的那一天,因为他们经历过那个时期,他们知道当时是什么样的情况。

我这一代没有这样的经历,但我们从我们的父亲那里,得知当年的情况和他们的经历。如果当时我父亲被带走了,他一定回不来,我今天就不会在这里。我的舅舅,我母亲的哥哥,被日军带走后就再也没有回来。因此,这些回忆会牵动一些人的情绪。我的孩子这一代,他们没有那些回忆,没有亲身经历过的人告诉他们,也不一定有他人转述。因此,我们逐渐放下(这段历史)。作为一个社会,我们已经继续前进。

在1960年代,曾经有一段时间,我们发现了多个巨坟,那里埋着许多遭屠杀的平民。这引起一片哗然。对我来说,那一幕历历在目,因为我看见他们在学校旁边挖掘坟墓,这在民间造成了巨大的回响。我记得日本政府作出了道歉并捐赠了一些钱;我们也建造了一个纪念碑。因此,新加坡和日本之间这一段历史,就算是结束了。我们已经正式放下这段历史。从那之后,新加坡和日本之间关系良好 在投资,贸易,及在许多领域上都有合作。
我认为,日本与亚洲其他国家,仍未做到这一点。尤其是同中国,距离那一步还很遥远。与韩国,也是相同的情况。所以,如果你重提往事 - 无论是“慰安妇”或侵略等课题,或是已经道歉或从未认错;虽然,你有权决定不要道歉,但是你必须要考虑到这是否会对你与亚洲其他国家的关系有利,或是对你而言,这是不是你要做的最关键事情。这都是要由日本来决定的。”

Moderator: “I see. I am very struck by your candid comments. I think it is a very rare opportunity to hear your memory. You have a memory; people in Singapore have a memory but they don’t use it in a negative way, in a sense. Whether you keep the memory inside and based on that experience you have to overcome for the future, is that…”

主持人:“我明白了。您坦诚的意见让我感到非常震惊。我认为能听到您的往事是一个非常难得的机会。您有回忆,新加坡人也有回忆,但他们并没有因此( 对日本)存有负面的看法。无论把往事藏在心里,或是以这些经验为依据克服未来,这是......“

PM Lee: “Well, we try to do that. Every generation grows up in a new environment and new circumstances. The old generation always feels ‘we want them to remember what we remember’, but the young generation did not live through those and they will have to form their own key memories. But at the same time, we hope that the most salient and relevant parts of what the older generation has learnt and seen, sometimes at great human cost, will be passed on and will be able to benefit the next generation.”

李总理:“我们尽量做到这一点。每一代人在一个新的环境中成长,所面对的局势也不一样。老一代总是希望年轻的一代能记住他们铭记的历史”,但年轻的一代没有经历过这些,他们需要创造自己最重要的回忆。但同时,我们希望老一辈人的经历及吸取的教训,当中最突出和最相关的部分,尤其是许多人牺牲付出的事迹会代代相传,这将能让下一代从中受益。“

X X X X X

Question: “Thank you very much, Your Excellency, I very much appreciate your encouraging speech. I used to live in Singapore. I really appreciate Singapore and love Singapore. Let me ask you one thing about China. People know China is very important, I agree with you but at the same time, I have a big concern about China’s expansion to the Pacific. China has started saying that not only Okinawa, not only Senkaku, but also Okinawa is under dispute. And also, China proposed to the United States, ‘Let’s divide the Pacific Ocean – East side must belong to the US, west side belongs to China’. For that matter, I am saying that we need to cooperate with each other, with ASEAN, India, Korea and Russia to prevent China from expanding to the Pacific. So close enclosure against China may be necessary. Containment may not be, a bit too strong to do that, but close enclosure against China may be necessary to prevent such aggression. Thank you very much.”

问:“非常感谢您,阁下,您的演讲激励人心。我曾经在新加坡居住。我真的很欣赏新加坡,也很爱新加坡。现在,让我问一个关于中国的问题。众所皆知,中国是非常重要的,我同意您的看法,但同时,我对中国在太平洋扩其展影响感到极度担忧。中国已经开始说,除了钓鱼岛,冲绳岛的主权也可争议。此外,中国也向美国提出,‘让我们划分太平洋 - 东侧必须属于美国,西侧则是属于中国的’。对于这个问题,我认为我们需要相互合作,连同亚细安,印度,韩国和俄罗斯,共同阻止中国伸展到太平洋地区。所以,联手包围中国可能是必要的。也不需要遏制中国,这么做有点过于强烈,但包围可能是必要的,以防止中国的侵略。非常感谢您。”

PM Lee: “Well, Singapore is good friends with Japan. Singapore is also good friends with China. So I do not think it is wise for me in Tokyo to criticise China, or anywhere publicly to criticise China. I think that every country in the region benefits from China’s prosperity and progress; hopes to participate in it and hopes to cultivate good relations with China. Certainly all the ASEAN countries do so and I believe even amongst the Japanese people and Japanese companies, many would like to take advantage of the huge market and huge opportunities which China offers. Therefore, we have to work with China and China itself has to see in its own interest to develop in a peaceful way which is not threatening to its neighbours and which enables it to integrate into the global economy.

I think their leaders understand this. You watch what they say to themselves. They often remind themselves that it is necessary for China to be a benign power and not to repeat the mistakes of previous powers which have tried to succeed through force of arms. And some years ago, they had a television series entitled ‘The Rise of Great Powers’ and they listed all the countries, all the great powers, over the last several centuries, starting from the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Dutch, the British, the Americans, the Russians, the Japanese and showing the history of how they succeeded and when they went (to) try for expansion, it did not work. So I think at some level, they understand this. And certainly, if they are taking a long-term approach, they will make this calculation that whether it is the Senkakus, whether it is the South China Sea, what you gain on the Senkakus or the South China Sea, but you lose in terms of your broader reputation and standing in the world, you have to make that calculation very carefully.

So I will be very careful about saying, ‘let us make a friendship amongst all the countries which are frightened of China’. I do not think that is a constructive and helpful approach. I think let us all make friends and develop constructive relations with one another in a multi-dimensional way. Not all links in Asia are centred on China, we also have cooperations between Japan and Asean, between Japan and America, between India and countries in East Asia, I see Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is visiting Japan soon. And also with the United States, which wants to make good relations with China and does not see a division in the Pacific Ocean between the two. So I would be very careful about these over-simplifications and maintain a constructive approach, encourage a constructive approach, so that we do not by our words and actions bring about the outcome we do not want.

We take this position consistently. We tell this to the Japanese, we tell this to the Americans, we tell this to the Chinese. Last year, I visited Beijing. I made a speech at the Central Party School, where they send the senior cadres for training, and I explained to the audience in Mandarin why I felt that China’s wisest policy was to maintain their position of restraint and demonstrate, not just by words but also by its actions. That it works by international norms, that there is room in its international relations for win-win partnerships and relationships of mutual respect and equality. And I think the audience took my point.”

李总理:“新加坡与日本是好朋友。新加坡也是中国的好朋友。所以我不认为我在东京指责中国,或者在任何地方公开批评中国是明智的。我认为本区域的每一个国家,都从中国的繁荣和进步中受益,希望能参与其中并与中国建立良好关系。当然,所有的亚细安国家皆是如此,而且我相信,即使日本人民和日本企业,当中也有很多人想通过中国的庞大市场和巨大的商机来获利。因此,我们必须与中国合作。中国本身也要看到它自己的利益,在不会对其他国家造成威胁的情况下以和平的方式发展。这样,有助于中国融入全球经济体当中。

我认为他们的领导人明白这一点。他们经常提醒自己,有必要让中国成为友好的大国,而不是重复以前其他大国的错误,试图利用武力取得成功。若干年前,他们制作了一个题为“大国崛起”的纪录片系列,他们列出了几个世纪前的所有国家,超级强国,从葡萄牙开始,并包括西班牙,荷兰,英国,美国,俄罗斯,日本等国家,描绘这些国家变成强国的历史过程,并指出这些国家在尝试扩展势力时都遭遇失败。所以,我认为在一定程度上,他们明白这一点。当然,如果他们以长期发展的角度来处理事务,不管是在处理钓鱼岛还是中国南海的问题,他们会懂得衡量,明白即使在钓鱼岛或中国南海问题上获得利益,但却失去在世界上的声誉和地位,所以必须谨慎斟酌,权衡后果。

有鉴于此,我会对‘让所有害怕中国的国家结成友好联盟’的说法保持谨慎态度。我不认为这是一个有建设性和有益的做法。我认为,大家都应该成为朋友,互相发展多层面、具有建设性的关系。并非所有亚洲的联系,都集中在中国,我们也有日本和亚细安之间的合作,日本和美国之间,印度和东亚国家之间都有联系。我知道印度总理曼莫汉星很快就要访问日本。此外,美国也想与中国建立良好关系,并不认为可把太平洋二分为一,各自拥有一半。所以,我们必须小心谨慎,不要过度简化这些重要关系,保持并且提倡具有建设性的态度,避免无心的言行给我们带来不必要的后果。

我们一直坚持这样的立场。我们对日本,对美国,对中国都这么说。去年,我到北京访问,并在培训高级干部的中央党校发言,我 用华语解释,为什么我认为,中国最明智的政策,不仅是通过言语,也以实际的行动,维持他们反对霸权主义的立场。这符合国际规范,让中国在国际关系中能取得互利共赢、相互尊重、平等对待的合作伙伴关系。我觉得他们接受了我的观点。“

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