Lee Hsien Loong at summit

Speaking to leaders of ASEAN countries, China, South Korea and Japan at a summit via video conferece, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for everyone to open up their borders in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Lee Hsien Loong said borders should open up bilaterally between country to country while dealing with the virus outbreak:

“No country wants to lift travel restrictions prematurely for fear of introducing a new wave of infections. But it is possible to work out bilateral or even multilateral arrangements, with necessary assurances in place, as one by one, countries bring the Covid-19 outbreak under control, and gain confidence in the success of others in the fight against the virus.”

The world’s highest paid politician also told other countries to lift export limits and claimed that a country being self-sufficient is a bad thing:

“The natural instinct of every government is to put their own people first, and to secure resources and supplies for themselves. But unless we are able to maintain trust and work with one another, our supply chains will break, production will be disrupted, and we will go back in the ultimate limit, to autarky and everyone will be much worse off.”

Fortunately, no country in the meeting listened to Lee Hsien Loong. Nobody seconded his suggestions and instead redirected the discussion on fighting the pandemic.

Thailand Prime Minister proposed a new fund to purchase medical supplies and help the poorer countries, while the South Korea Prime Minister advised other countries to increase testing and contact tracing to stop the increase.