Chinese paper warns Singapore military 'hypocrisy' could harm relations

Posted November 28, 2016

Is there any reason why the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) thinks it is actually acceptable to ship our military equipment from Taiwan to Singapore via Hong Kong knowing fully the political tensions between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China?

In June, Singapore and Brunei co-hosted the ADMM-Plus exercises, which involved militaries from all 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and eight other countries, including China, Russia and the U.S.

Hong Kong has seized a shipment of Singapore-bound armoured vehicles from Taiwan.

"China has always been resolutely opposed to official exchanges, including military exchange and cooperation, between Taiwan and any countries that have diplomatic ties with China", Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing.

Singapore has confirmed that the Terrex AV81 carriers belonged to its military and were "used in overseas training", but it has not confirmed that the training mission was held in Taiwan. China claims virtually the entire strategic waterway as its own and says global law has no jurisdiction in the matter. Officials on both sides have unusually traded barbs in public in recent months, including an accusation by Singapore's ambassador to China in September that a major state-run Chinese newspaper had fabricated a report about Singapore's position on the South China Sea. CHINA MAY PRESSURE SINGAPORE, EXPERTS SAY Singapore has had a longstanding if low-key military relationship with Taiwan, despite having a strong diplomatic relationship with Beijing as well as with a range of Western militaries.

Safeguarding national security and sovereignty is one of the key criteria Beijing has set for Hong Kong's future leader, which can be a real test when it comes to handling thorny cases.

According to Singapore's Straits Times, the vehicles are used by troops during combat proficiency tests conducted in southwest Taiwan.

It added that APL officials have assured the SAF that they are working with Hong Kong authorities to resolve the issue.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on November 25 that the government was verifying details about the seizure of the vehicles. APL is a subsidiary of the French-based CMA CGM Group.

Hong Kong's Customs and Excise Department then received a tip from China to take action by boarding the ship for an inspection and seize the military items, the report said.