Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat expressed an open aggression against China yesterday (May 26), calling Singaporeans who want Singapore to align closer to China “simplistic and flawed”.
“Some people read media reports and are concerned about Singapore’s relations with China, and asked if Singapore should align more closely with China. A few have suggested that by doing so, China would not be investing in our neighbouring countries to compete with Singapore. This is a simplistic and flawed conclusion.”
The Singapore Senior Minister who was Principal Private Secretary to Lee Kuan Yew when he was alive, is responding to calls from Singaporeans who want to respect the One-China policy by stopping military operations in Taiwan and also to stop intervening in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Although the PAP Minister, whose S$0.93 million salary is 30 times higher than China President Xi Jin Ping’s, omitted his comments on Operation Starlight in Taiwan and Singapore’s intervention in South China Sea, his statement is likely to have worsened relations as China has explicitly stated the two factors for souring diplomacy.
In Nov 2016, China stated that Singapore has to respect the One-China policy and terminate all military cooperation with Taiwan. The Singapore government refused. Earlier in the same year, China has also fired at Singapore for coercing ASEAN countries to take a stand against China on the South China Sea issue. The ruling party PAP Singapore government feign ignorance claiming that they are only asking China to “respect international law”. In the China-Singapore forum held earlier this month, a senior China diplomat also expressed China’s displeasure at Singapore’s involvement in United States military surveillance of China’s movements in the South China Sea. The Singapore government, again, feign ignorance and refuse to comment.
In response to the three aggression by Singapore ruling party PAP government, China boycotted Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong from attending the high profile Belt and Road forum. Singapore is also conspicuously left out of any trade cooperation with China despite it being the new incoming leader of ASEAN in 2018.
China has also poured tens of billions of direct foreign investments in rail infrastructure, sea port construction, property development and South East Asia’s headquarters in Malaysia instead of Singapore. E-commence giant Ali Baba, founder Jack Ma, openly declared that Malaysia will now be the headquarter of South East Asia – replacing Singapore.
Acknowledging the strained relations with China, Singapore today is resorting to story-telling of historical ties with China to salvage the relationship. China however is only lukewarm in response, playing along with lips services like its counterpart. Economically, China refuse to add Singapore into the Belt and Road plan, and China corporation continue to invest in Johor Bahru, a Malaysian state that is only a stone throw away from Singapore.
The Singapore government is however adamant on not addressing China’s three demands, and continue to side with United States to fix China.