Lawrence Wong was sworn in as the fourth prime minister of Singapore on Wednesday evening, leading a trade-dependent nation he warned would face turbulence from worsening geopolitical tensions.

The 51-year-old Harvard graduate takes office with rising concerns in the Southeast Asian nation over the cost of living, strained U.S.-China ties and wars in the Mideast and Ukraine that have put Singapore’s economy in a delicate position.

"The great powers are competing to shape a new, yet undefined, global order,” Wong said after taking the oath of office on the lawn of the presidential residence. "We must brace ourselves to these new realities and adapt to a messier, riskier, and more violent world.”