Kissinger ‘optimistic’ that risk of First World War scenario can be avoided

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger speaks during an interview at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2018
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Kissinger ‘optimistic’ that risk of First World War scenario can be avoided

  • Kissinger helped achieve China-US entente half a century ago
  • Former secretary of state says risk of trade dispute escalation

SINGAPORE: Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state who helped brings about an entente between China and the US nearly 50 years ago, told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum that there was a risk that rising trade tension could lead to a situation like that in Europe before the outbreak of the First World War.
“There is a risk of it getting out of control, like in Europe in 1914, so both countries have to realize that conflict between them would destroy hopes for the world order,” he said, adding that he was “optimistic” that a compromise could be achieved between America and China.
“We all know what the world would look like if there was a military conflict between China and the USA, so they need to solve their differences,” he said.
Kissinger, who is co-chairman of the NEF’s advisory board, added: “China has not had to experience ‘balance’ (in international affairs). For most of their history they have been the dominant world power. So the challenge is for China to recognize that there has to be a balance.
“The United States has to learn that not every crisis is caused by ill-will. Both sides will have to learn to adapt.”
He said that there was “probably a group of people in the USA who do not want China to be the biggest economy in the world.”
Since Kissinger helped organize the first ever visit by an American president — Richard Nixon in 1971 — the shape of the global economy has changed completely, he added.
“Now China has become a substantial new player that can compete with the USA, so they are bound to step on others’ toes around the world. The challenge is for the USA and China to maintain a co-operative relationship in the face of this.”


Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

Updated 24 March 2019
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Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

  • The initiative will help Abu Dhabi reduce reliance on oil
  • Mubadala hopes to attract Chinese and Indian companies

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi will commit up to $272 million to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

US tech giant Microsoft will be a strategic partner, providing technology and cloud services to the businesses that join the hub as the capital of the United Arab Emirates continues its push to reduce reliance on oil revenue.
Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.
The emirate launched a $13.6 billion stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic. The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a $136 million fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.
The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.
Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.
Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.
Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.
Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the $272 million commitment, Ajami said.
Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.