"Trick of balance" is out of place
"The Chinese side is firmly opposed to any form of official interaction between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic relations with us, military exchanges and cooperation included. We require the Singaporean government to stick to the One-China policy," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on November 28, 2016.
"That was also a warning to other countries not to get too close with the Taiwan authorities that support 'Taiwan independence'." According to Chinese naval expert Li Jie, Singapore's attitude toward the South China Sea dispute and Tsai Ing-wen has affected China's national interests.
For many years, the "Starlight Program" has not only benefited Singapore, but also enabled Taiwan to buy advanced weapons and equipment such as quick launcher and speed boat from Japan and European countries through Singapore. There is no doubt that Singapore has been the "arms broker" between China's Taiwan and other countries.
As a special nation that created the "big diplomacy for small country", Singapore has practiced a highly pragmatic diplomatic strategy aiming at "equilibrium". It wants the Chinese mainland and Taiwan to maintain the status quo most because that way it can seek maximal interests for itself.
"People with Chinese origin take a large proportion in Singapore, but it was the last country in Southeast Asia to recognize the People's Republic of China." Hong Kong pundit Martin Oei said that one of the two major topics during the Singapore-China negotiations on forming diplomatic ties in 1990 was whether the "Starlight Program" could continue, and the two countries have had several diplomatic engagements around the program since the diplomatic ties were forged.
"We won't allow any individual event to hijack the Singapore-China relation", Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan claimed, but he also emphasized at a forum organized by the Straits Times on November 29 that "it isn't a secret, and the form hasn't changed. Singapore cannot forget our old friend who helped us build the armed forces."
As some expert correctly pointed out, the combination of national forces and the rise and decline of them are reshaping the international landscape today. In today's world, Singapore's so-called "trick of balance" is obviously out of place.
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