If you are not with us, you are against us.
That’s the line given to Singapore by China when they seized 9 Singapore armoured personnel carriers in Hong Kong last week. For a long time now, Singapore has tried to have it’s cake and eat it by walking a careful line between the U.S. and China. China is now saying that stance is at it’s end.
Using it's economic muscle, China has slowly gained the diplomatic advantage in South East Asia. Laos and Cambodia are strictly in China’s orbit; promises of investments seem to have swayed Philippine’s President Duterte to shelf their country’s territorial disputes; and they saved Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bacon by buying the Malaysian’s power plants. Now it’s Singapore’s turn.
I say; Singapore should just ignore China.
Yes, China is a big country and is very important for trade but seizing our armed forces’ weapons just to make a point? That’s just a step that goes beyond any acceptable norm. The Singapore government may not be able to do anything to China but they cannot allow and accept this. Not only that, if the Singapore accepts the seizure, cut ties with Taiwan and America over it; then we are burning the forest to save a tree.
Simply put; America is more important to Singapore than China. Throwing our weight behind China over America is just stupid when three quarter of our trade is with America. As Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has publicly said several times, Singapore does not want to take sides in the battle of influence between China and the U.S. However if China wants to force the issue, then there’s only one side to pick for Singapore.
Let China melt the armoured personnel carriers as they had threatened to do. The loss of the armoured personnel carriers would just prove what everyone had always suspected; China is no friend of Singapore.