THE United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union (EU) is a turning point, but it is too early to tell what all the consequences will be, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his Facebook post on Friday.
Mr Lee said the decision to leave the EU reflected the anxiety of the British population over immigration, their resentment at having to negotiate with and accommodate European partners, and their desire to assert British identity and sovereignty.
"Other developed countries also face similar challenges as Britain. We all live in a globalised, interdependent world. The desire to disengage, to be less constrained by one's partners, to be free to do things entirely as one chooses, is entirely understandable. And yet in reality for many countries disengaging and turning inwards will likely lead to less security, less prosperity, and a dimmer future," he said.
Mr Lee said the next few years would be uncertain ones for Britain and Europe.
"Leaving the EU is as complicated as joining it. What new arrangements will be made? Will Brexit hurt investor confidence more broadly, and the global economy? How will Britain's leaving affect the rest of the EU? How will this affect us, living in Asia but part of the same globalised world?"
"It is too early to tell, but we need to watch developments carefully. Nobody can foresee all the consequences of the Brexit," Mr Lee said.
He added Singapore would continue to cultivate its ties with Britain, which is a long-standing friend and partner.
"We hope in time the uncertainty will diminish, and we will make the best of the new reality," he said, adding his well wishes to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his intention to resign.
For more coverage of the EU referendum, visit bt.sg/BrexiT