In Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen’s speech in Parliament today (Jan 9), the Defence Minister asserted that Singapore did no wrong and that China is breaking international law by detaining the S$119 million worth of Terrex vehicles.
“The detention of the nine Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Terrex infantry carriers in Hong Kong does not comply with international or Hong Kong law. The vehicles are the property of the Singapore Government and protected by international law. Under the principle of sovereign immunity, property belonging to a country cannot be seized or forfeited. This principle is well established under international law and also the law of Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China.”
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also said that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has warned Hong Kong that the detained shipment are “immune from any constraints”:
“Singapore has informed Hong Kong several times over the last two months that the Terrexes belong to the Singapore Government and are therefore immune from any measures of constraint. Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong has contacted Hong Kong Chief Executive C Y Leung about Singapore’s military vehicles that have been held at a Hong Kong port since November.”
According to an earlier statement by the Defence Minister, Singapore has been trying very hard to settle the returns quietly but China refuse to budge. China’s only demand is that Singapore complies with the One-China policy the country signed, by stopping military exercises in Taiwan. China detained the 9 Terrex SAF vehicles in November 2016, following Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s offensive stances against China. PM Lee has earlier in August 2016 told China to give up their claims on South China Seas, resulting in a war of words and diplomatic spats between the two countries.