Photo of Vivian Balakrishnan form Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ahead of the ASEAN meeting starting today, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told state media reporters that the Singapore government is an “honest broker” when dealing with major diplomatic issues in the region. The pro-US dictatorship which is opposing China on the sovereignty of South China Sea claimed that even when Singapore does not have a solution, it does not “make the situation worse”.

The PAP Minister who has actively been lying on local domestic politics over the years said that he does not “sugarcoat” things:

“As chairman of Asean this year, Singapore will be an honest broker in tackling major challenges and potential crises. We call it as it is, we don’t sugarcoat things and we don’t stick our heads in the sand, but at the same time we don’t just complain or highlight that there’s a problem, we actively look for solutions. And even if we can’t have a complete solution, we at least don’t make it worse. We try to explore at least some preliminary steps which can improve the situation.”

When questioned about the South China Sea and the Rohingya refugees concering ASEAN, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he does not know what to do.

Singapore is currently trying to contain China by proposing a “Code of Conduct”, so that China would stop building more infrastructures in the South China Sea. Unlike US which builds its military presence in territories of allies, China build their military bases only in their own territories.

In 2017, the Chinese completed building a military base in Spratly Islands – which is a strategic location to stop US forces from invading North Korea. The US have registered their protest through Singapore, which led to China detaining Singapore’s Terrex vehicles as “punishments”.

A satellite image of Fiery Cross Reef in Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, annotated by the source to show areas where China has conducted construction work above ground during 2017. Picture: ASource:AP

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also said that the South China Sea issue is “calmer” today but admitted that he has no solution:

“The whole point of the COC is that it’s not going to resolve the competing or overlapping claims, but it is meant to maintain the peace, prevent accidents, prevent misunderstandings and to prevent escalation to a situation that nobody wants to get into… The South China Sea situation is much more calm now…I do not want to put a deadline on the code of conduct.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier criticised China for being a “bully” but he later toned down his combative approach after Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei said they will handle the South China Sea claims individually with China without ASEAN. The Singapore dictator unfortunately also did not receive any domestic support from Singaporeans, with many jeering the PM and laughing when his Terrex vehicles were detained in Hong Kong.

Most Singaporeans do not care about the South China Sea as Singapore is not a claimant country. Some members of the ruling party elite likewise do not want to interfere because China-Singapore relationship has been prosperous for Singapore and that matters like territory claims is not in Singapore’s interests. Many also opined that there is no need for Singapore to be a US proxy representing the American’s military interests in South East Asia.