Photo of Ng Eng Hen from Straits Times Mark Cheong

Despite having the China central government given the go-ahead for Hong Kong to release the seized armoured vehicles back to Singapore yesterday (Nov 28), Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen today (Nov 29) continued to provoke China claiming that he demands “a reason and legal basis for the detention to be made clear” before he will take the goods back.

Singapore’s ruling party remains defiant of China’s warning with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen stating that he does not believe China is asking Singapore to stop military training with Taiwan and indirectly told China to mind their own business because training matters are bilateral arrangements:

“Our training overseas has never been secret, people know where we train openly. We adhere to the One China policy. Any training matters between us and other countries are bilateral. We should not unnecessarily, until the facts come out, muddle the picture and impute various motives. So let’s wait for the facts.”

However, Minister Ng Eng Hen’s defiant response was mixed with contradiction when he went on to say that Singapore “respects the One-China policy and will continue to act in a manner consistent with this policy”.

Last Friday (Nov 25), China Foreign Minister Geng Shuang gave a rare warning to Singapore explicitly stating that China will not allow any country it has diplomatic ties with to conduct military training with Taiwan because the two countries are still technically at war.

The diplomatic row started with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong leading the attack on China denouncing the superpower to “respect the rule of law” in August.