Photo of Chan Chun Sing with China representatives from Straits Times Desmond Wee

Speaking at the Singapore Hua Yuan Association anniversary dinner, Minister of State Chan Chun Sing said that the Chinese Association clans in Singapore can help the country to access markets in China through new citizens.

“Now they are like a construction crane, with a solid foundation capable of rising and helping Singapore to reach out and connect with different parts of the world, not China alone.”

Attending the dinner for 1,200 were mostly Singaporean new citizens and permanent residents from China. Minister Chan waxed lyrical about Chinese immigrants during the colonial days and poured praises for the China Chinese saying they brought “good values” such as diligence, thriftiness and benevolence to Singapore.

Minister Chan Chun Sing said that the new citizens from China will however need to integrate with the general Singapore populace:

“The new Chinese immigrants must not only integrate with the older immigrants with their younger generations all Singapore-born, but also those from the minority races…not to remain new for too long. New citizens should become Singaporeans who are multiracial and multi-religious, but who share a common goal and destiny.”

The Singapore Minister’s move to butter up China is a new approach after the souring of China-Singapore relationship because of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s insistence on China giving up their claims on the South China Sea, and also the hard-selling of the Trans-Pacific Pact (TPP) that excludes China in the negotiations.

Minister Chan’s approach to bending forward to China is also seen as a political move to get ahead of the competition among other 5 other Ministers to be the next Prime Minister. Other Ministers like Tan Chuan Jin and Heng Swee Keat have refrained from taking positions on foreign affairs without instruction from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Currently, China is expressing indirect aggression against Singapore by investing heavily on Malaysia instead of helping Singapore whose economy just posted a -4.1% decline in its latest quarterly GDP report. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is however adamant on not mending ties with China, after China expressed dissatisfaction over his earlier statements on the South China Sea. Singapore is not a claimant country for the South China Sea but the Singaporean Prime Minister has been leading the external interference against China telling them to “respect the rule of law”.