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Ambassador Chin: Southeast Asia, go for the choice that brings prosperity

Ambassador Curtis Chin says Southeast Asia is face with a choice between free trade and free markets, and now China's state-owned enterprise and managed markets approach. Watch on CNBC.

Quotes from the interview:

"Businesses in Southeast Asia have a choice. The choice that’s being offered up is one that has succeeded, free trade and free markets, and one that now China is pushing which is much more about state-owned enterprise and managed markets. So Southeast Asia, whether or not they want it, they have to face this choice and I say go for the choice that has brought prosperity to this region."

"When I contrast what are two great cities in this region, Hong Kong and Singapore, Singapore doesn’t really have to do anything right now. They are benefiting by, sadly, the gradual decline of Hong Kong because of mainland China’s intervention behind the scenes and mainly China’s behavior."

"We just had our huge Milken Institute Asia summit here with a lot of people coming in from Hong Kong and mainland China and that’s really the talk at these events, the US-China relationship and how at this point Asia is truly at a crossroads and how will they move forward."

"I think the reality is there is more rocky road ahead of us before it ultimately ends. I hope it ends with a peaceful resolution but I think the reality is we are going to see more, not so wonderful images not just from Hong Kong but from around the region as this disruption moves around the region. Not just markets but in terms of individual people’s lives."

Carrie Lam has taken a step back and has at least formally withdrawn this extradition bill. This bill really led to what has happened. One would think [the protester's five demands] are very reasonable including an independent investigation of what is happening with the police force there. I do hope there is a way forward in Hong Kong and that it is a peaceful one, but the reality is that it will also require Beijing to back down somewhat. Also for the Hong Kong business community to play a positive role in saying to the government, if you care about a great Hong Kong as I think so many people do, we do need to take some steps forward.


Ambassador Curtis Chin served as U.S. Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He currently serves at the Milken Institute as Asia fellow and is a managing director at the advisory firm RiverPeak Group LLC.


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