Monday, December 05, 2016

The way forward for China and Singapore

I am disappointed with the action taken by China to detain the SAF military vehicles in Hong Kong.

They have the legal right to take this action, and they have quoted the following reasons:

a) The military vehicles were not declared in the manifest
b) Singapore should not have military cooperation with Taiwan in violation of the One China policy.

The underlying reason, which is unspoken, is that China is unhappy with the stand taken by Singapore on the South China Sea issue and in siding with America on military matters, including the intent to "contain" China.

However, China should also consider other countervailing factors:

a) Singapore provided a lot of moral, practical and diplomatic support to China during the 1980s and 1990s.
b) Singapore made major strategic investments in China to help develop its economy at a time when the world was uncertain about its prospects.
c) Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and Dr. Goh Keng Swee provided valuable guidance to China in adopting the market economy, including the setting up of the free trade zones.

Without Singapore's contribution during the crucial initial years, China would not have seen the tremendous progress that it had.

I know a little bit of this history. I visited China for the first time in 1985. I saw the abject poverty of China and its people at that time. I understand why Mr Lee KY, Dr Goh KS and Ong Teng Cheong stepped forward to help China.

China may not agree with the stand and approach taken by Mr. Lee HL on many issues. But it is not a matter between President Xi and PM Lee. It is a matter between China and Singapore and the people of both countries.

I disagree with the stand taken by China to exercise its "right" to detain the SAF military vehicles. The paper work may be sloppy, but mistakes are made and, between friends or between mature adults, this matter could have been sorted out more amicably.

China may complain about the military cooperation between Singapore and Taiwan. Surely, China knows that Singapore needs the land to train our soldiers? It is not a cooperation to help the other country on military matters.

The use of the training facilities in Taiwan has been ongoing for a few decades. China knew about it. If China wishes to ask Singapore to review this arrangement, a better way is for China to talk to Singapore about it, and find a better arrangement. Maybe China can offer a small part of its vast land mass for Singapore to train our soldiers?

While I disgree with the approach taken by PM Lee on many issues, I wish to say that in this instance, the action taken by China is unacceptable and amounts to "bullying". I hope that China knows about how some people in Singapore feel about this matter, and it is from people who harbor goodwill towards China and wish China well.

1 comment:

Yujuan said...

They will release the vehicles, but only after breaking apart one, then make a blueprint, reassemble back, repack for you to take home, then manufacture their own version with some adjustments, compete with us by selling at a much lower price.
Professor Wang Guangwu was diplomatic to say China has changed, but did not go further to say our Govt is still stuck at last century's time warp, still rely on old tricks that dun work anymore.
Fancy handing a prized item on a silver plate to the Chinese to copy.
A Spanish talkshow described the military vehicle fiasco aptly, we are bumbling idiots using a commercial shipper to transport sensitive items out of Taiwan through Hongkong, a Chinese province. Last time can, now different times, cannot. Wanna talk about the rule of Law with them?
We have become the laughing stock of the whole world, all the way to Spain. The Spanish were tickled pink, whether we declared those items as Legco toys.
PAP has spent far too much time on fixing the Opposition or childish delinquents like Amos Yee. Time to wake up and smarten itself to real governance of the country to meet a brand New World, who is ready to eat us up.

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