Photo of Vivian Balakrishnan from Mediacorp

Speaking in Parliament over China’s detention of Singapore’s Terrex armoured vehicles, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan referenced Taiwan as a country and confirmed that military exercises with Taiwan will continue.

The official Singapore response is an infringement to the One-China policy agreement after China sent representatives to Singapore expressing their objection to Singapore’s military partnership with Taiwan:

“We must also maintain our emphasis on upholding international law and scrupulously respecting agreements entered into with other countries. This is not personal…This attitude is basic to a rules-based international order that benefits all countries and is especially crucial for our long-term survival.”

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan even dug out the same reasoning used by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong telling China to obey international law, hinting China to follow the Hague’s ruling and give up its claims on the South China Sea.

“We must also maintain our emphasis on upholding international law and scrupulously respecting agreements entered into with other countries. This is not personal…This attitude is basic to a rules-based international order that benefits all countries and is especially crucial for our long-term survival.”

The Singapore Foreign Minister also openly sided with the United States and added that his government will not listen to China:

“However, it is important for us to conduct our foreign policy as a sovereign independent nation. This is essential for our international credibility, our standing, our relevance and usefulness to our partners and friends (United States). We cannot be at the beck and call of any single superpower. If that means from time to time I have to have a difference with you, so be it… Do not force us to make invidious choices.”

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also said that he is adamant on not opening direct talks with China over the detained vehicles and choosing to leave the negotiations to “legal process”:

“It is best this matter be handled through a proper legal process. No need to politicise it; no need to engage in megaphone diplomacy, so let’s have some patience.”

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also slammed China’s state media, The Global Times, for “generating more heat than light”:

“I don’t believe in engaging in a whole lot of invective and conducting affairs in a way which generates more heat than light.”

Although Singapore businessmen complained to the Singapore government there has been “inconvenience” in their recent business dealings with China, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan dismissed the allegations saying he is not informed of any “formal restriction”.