China will not be more humble unless it is truly humbled, period. I don't believe Dr Ruan reflected anywhere near his bosses view. He is too westernized in the mind to suggest that. It would be nice but practically impossible.
So as I marked in a red box, neighbouring countries would just have to suck it up and make the best of the situation or be dictated to by China. At that time many small countries in our region would simply hope China would not change its relationship with them too much because it is too busy with so many other issues. Just hope the emperor is far away.
He might without mentioning names be referring to us. It is not easy to pull off what LKY had done for us. If we want to be a jewel among nations we have to pull this off or else we would decline and at some point it would only make sense for us to become part of Malaysia or Indonesia. That is the brutal fact of life for us. Now with Trump in the US it is even more difficult.
How do we know we are not up to challenge? When we fail to anticipate what the US and China would do. That was what LKY was capable of doing. We do well by not getting trapped. If we are caught frequently then we must ask ourselves if we are capable of continuing our present strategy. God forbid that we lack sufficient foresight. We know we have continued to maintain that edge if foreign leaders regularly ask to talk to our leaders for their insights.