Photo of Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull and PM Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has taken a passive-aggressive stance against China at the Shangri-La Dialogue with no formal exchanges taken place between the Prime Minister and the Chinese representative Lieutenant General He Lei.

PM Lee Hsien Loong has taken several photos and made official exchanges with Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull  and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis.

Photo of US Defence Secretary James Mattis and PM Lee Hsien Loong
Photo of Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull and PM Lee Hsien Loong

Whereas for the China delegate, there is no official meeting with PM Lee Hsien Loong and only Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen was sent to welcome China.

Photo of China Lt-Gen He Lei and Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen

Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull and US Defence Secretary James Mattis have both openly expressed pressure on China to act on North Korea at the Shangri La Dialogue. The Singapore government however reserved comments and dare not openly voice out against China, fearing that diplomatic relations with China might worsen further.

China has in recent years diverted tens of billions of investments in neighbour Malaysia instead of Singapore because PM Lee Hsien Loong has chosen to take the side of United States and refused to respect the “One-China” policy by stopping military cooperation with Taiwan. The ruling party PAP government claimed that they are only following “the rule of law”, to which China questioned whose “law” is Singapore following.
The Singapore government is currently trying to play down on the escalating tensions with China by claiming ancestry friendship, with PM Lee Hsien Loong often invoking memories of his father Lee Kuan Yew and his father’s relationship with China in the past.