Photo of Lee Hsien Loong and Obama from AFP

After denouncing China’s claims on the South China Sea and even accusing it of breaching international laws, Singapore is ramping up cooperation with United States allies like Australia and New Zealand to deter China.

Just yesterday (Jan 16) at a press conference alongside New Zealand’s Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that the Singapore army will explore more training opportunities in New Zealand. The two countries are currently in two United States-backed alliance, the Five Power Defence Arrangement and the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.

Following their meeting, Singapore will now allow New Zealand navy to use Singapore as a port while travelling along the Straits of Malacca. Minister Ng Eng Hen said:

“It was important to strengthen relationships with like-minded countries during this period of uncertainty.”

Just barely a month ago, it was revealed on Australian media that Singapore spent S$2.3 billion in exchange for greater military training grounds in North Queensland. The Singapore government is also insistent on continuing “Operation Starlight” with Taiwan and even referenced the Chinese territory as a country. China has however made it clear that they will not return the detained SAF armoured vehicles if Singapore continues military exercise with Taiwan, a rebel state that is looking at invasion of China in the name of “reunification”.