Lee Hsien Loong at a loss of words

Speaking at a high-level official forum between China and Singapore yesterday (May 10), senior China diplomat Dr Ruan Zong Ze said that Singapore has in recent years acting for the United States against China.

Dr Ruan Zong Ze told Singapore ambassador-at-large Tommy Koh that Singapore had tried to get other ASEAN countries to condemn China over the Hague’s judgment that ruled China has no claims in the South China Sea. Dr Ruan Zong Ze criticised Lee Hsien Loong’s call for a “rule-based” engagement and that China should obey the Hague’s ruling.

Read: Lee Hsien Loong against China on South China Sea: Respect the rules
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Read: Singapore Lee Hsien Loong made a fool over South China Sea by ASEAN countries

The senior diplomat from China also criticised the Singapore government has been allowing the US to deploy military vessels and aircraft from Singapore to conduct surveillance of China’s movements in the South China Seas. Dr Ruan Zong Ze then concluded that as such, China-Singapore relations is no longer as friendly as before.

Singapore’s Tommy Koh however went into denial mode at the forum and claim that none of the “allegations” is true. While Tommy Koh did not deny allow US planes and ships to spy on China in the South China Sea or that Lee Hsien Loong actually made the call for China to obey the Hague’s ruling, the Singapore ambassador denied trying to get other ASEAN countries to oppose China and claimed innocence as an “honest facilitator”:

“We asked each of the nine Asean countries what is their position, what can they subscribe to in the joint statement, that is all we did. We were an honest facilitator, trying to find out whether there is a consensus among the 10 Asean countries, but always conscious that our national interest is to promote peace and cooperation between Asean and China.”

The China diplomat did not bother responding to Tommy Koh and the meeting proceeded with other meeting agendas.