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It's Stupid to Be Afraid of China: Lee Kuan Yew

It's Stupid to Be Afraid of China: Lee Kuan Yew

A shift of the world's economic center of gravity from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific is inevitable but it's stupid to be afraid of China's development, Singaporean political mentor Lee Kuan Yew has said.

"Economically, there will be a shift to the Pacific from the Atlantic Ocean and you can already see that in the shipping volumes of Chinese ports," Lee said in a recent exclusive interview with German-language weekly Der Spiegel.

"Every shipping line is trying to get into association with a Chinese container port," he noted.

China is learning very fast from the developed world, but it's not the reason for other countries to be afraid, said the first-ever prime minister of Singapore.

"In 50 years I see China, (South) Korea and Japan at the high-tech end of the value chain," he said.

"Look at the numbers and quality of the engineers and scientists they produce and you know that this is where the R&D will be done. The Chinese have a space program, they are going to put a man on the moon and nobody sold them that technology," said Lee.

When asked about how afraid the West should be of China's rise, Lee said: "It's stupid to be afraid."

He noted that the developed world is leading in many fields which the Chinese cannot catch up with for many years, if not decades.

"In pharmaceuticals, I don't see them catching up with the Germans for a long time."

Lee Kuan Yew believed that China doesn't intend to enhance its influence through military means but economic competition.

"They will trade, they will not demand, 'This is my sphere of influence, you keep out.'" said Lee.

"I think they have calculated that they need 30 to 40 -- maybe 50 years of peace and quiet to catch up (with the developed world)," he said.

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