Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Little Red Dot and the Red Dragon

Last week, nine armoured vehicles — Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles belonging to the Singapore Armed Forces to be more precise — were detained by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise department. They were transiting through Hong Kong’s port, on their way back to Singapore after completing a training exercise in Taiwan.

Hong Kong authorities haven’t clearly stated the reasons for the detention beyond a “Customs inspection.” But the seizure of another state’s military vehicles is not routine, and given the parties involved — Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and of course the People’s Republic of China — this is a matter of extreme sensitivity.

Singapore has long managed a brilliant balancing act on the world stage; somehow our Little Red Dot has built a very substantial military, become a global finance hub and kept just about every major power on its side.

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What's behind Singapore's latest run-ins with Beijing

Singapore-China relations appear to have taken a turn for the worse.

The recent seizure of nine Singapore Armed Forces armoured vehicles in Hong Kong is the latest in a series of incidents that have made many wonder what is happening between the two countries.

Why is it that what appeared to have been acceptable in the past is now viewed by one party in a different light?

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The Terrex fallacies

3 common logical flaws can be identified from many of these commentaries. The 1st is fundamental attribution error. Hong Kong has yet to clarify the exact reasons and legal basis of its move.

The 2nd logical fallacy is an erroneous conflation of issues. For instance, Dr William Choong highlighted the other recent hiccups in the Sino-Singapore relationship, such as Singapore's recent fiasco with China's Global Times and the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement established with the United States in December last year.

Last but not least, analogies have been misused. In assuming China's involvement in the Terrex seizure, some analysts have recalled the 1994 Michael Fay caning incident and warned that Singapore should not succumb to pressure from China or any other bigger country.


Making sense of the Terrex incident

Nevertheless, it may be counter-intuitive to see the impounding of the SAF’s ICVs as business (or politics) as usual. Instead, it is likely that 2 separate political developments are part of this incident.

1st, this incident occurred in the midst of a dip in China-Singapore relations, which started after the July 12, 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea and Singapore’s subsequent response — which the Chinese interpreted as an anti-China stance. The relationship further deteriorated after Singapore’s Ambassador to Beijing, Mr Stanley Loh, issued an open letter to the editors of China’s Global Times newspaper on Sept 26, rebutting its report of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit earlier that month, which alleged that the Singapore delegation raised the issues of the South China Sea and the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling. Since then, a series of angry exchanges between the two countries, involving both public officials and private netizens, has ensued.

2nd, the election of Tsai Ing-wen as President of Taiwan clearly rankled Chinese sensibilities, judging by the number of times her Facebook account was spammed, ostensibly by Chinese netizens.


Singapore may prove a tough nut for China to crack over regional security

As the impounding of Singaporean troop carriers in Hong Kong exposes rising tensions between China and Singapore, the Lion City is unlikely to budge on core security interests concerning Beijing – its military relationship with Taiwan, worries over the South China Sea and its hosting of the U.S. military.

Singaporean officials, retired military officers and analysts stress that even while Singapore publicly plays down the spat, its leadership will not easily give in to what it sees as intimidation on matters of national importance.

All three points – Taiwan, the South China Sea and its deepening relationship with the Pentagon - reflect positions refined over decades as the tiny island state seeks to secure itself in a region now undergoing historic strategic shifts amid China's rise.

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China-Singapore tensions spill into open after customs spat

For decades, Singapore has walked a careful line between the U.S. and China. Now, the tiny Southeast Asian state is finding itself in Beijing’s cross hairs.

China has gone public in recent months to chastise Singapore for a perceived alignment with the U.S. against China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea. For Singapore, which the American Navy uses as a launch point for patrols of the strategic Strait of Malacca, the tensions cast doubt on its long-cherished ability to steer clear of political spats and focus on trade and investment.

The latest episode has the added wrinkle of Taiwan, which China considers its territory. Nine Singaporean armored personnel carriers were seized by Hong Kong customs last week, with the vehicles en route from Taiwan on a commercial ship after being used in training exercises. Singapore army chief Major General Melvyn Ong said the military was still seeking to ascertain the exact reason the vehicles were impounded.

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Under the Radar: Singapore latest to be punished by China’s opportunism
An increasingly opportunistic and edgy China is capitalizing on uncertainty surrounding America’s future in Asia under a Trump administration to punish its neighbours – from Mongolia to Taiwan to Singapore – for going against Chinese interests

Relations between Singapore and China are deteriorating as Beijing increases its assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region in general. Singapore has run afoul of Beijing as China seeks to capitalize on the uncertainty regarding Washington’s plans for Asia going forward following the election of Donald Trump. Consequently, Beijing-linked media outlets have recently criticized the micro-state for its close ties to the U.S.

While Singapore’s stated goal is to maintain amicable relations with as many countries as possible, its security agreement with the United States, which sees the country play host to American naval and aerial assets, has become a thorn in Beijing’s side. While close ties with the U.S are nothing new – indeed the U.S navy has long used Singapore as a staging area for its patrols of the Strait of Malacca, recent events have caused Beijing to become increasingly sensitive.

Firstly, Singapore’s support of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which dismissed China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, combined with its call for ASEAN unity and a diplomatic framework on the issue has put the micro-state in Beijing’s cross-hairs. More pertinently, this past week has seen a concerted effort by China to send a clear message to Singapore. Current tensions surround the seizure of nine Singaporean armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in Hong Kong. These vehicles were returning from training exercises in Taiwan, yet Chinese authorities claimed that they were not listed in the ship’s manifest.

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The special relationship with China

The relationship between China, one of the largest countries in the world, and Singapore, a little red dot in South-East Asia, has been widely regarded as special or unique. Mr Lee Kuan Yew has been instrumental in building this relationship.

Over the past few decades, China has successfully made two simultaneous transformations.

Internally, it has lifted itself from being one of the poorest economies to becoming the world’s No 2.

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FM calls on Singapore to respect China’s sea stance

China's foreign ministry called on Singapore to respect China's stance on the South China Sea issue on Tuesday, a further indication that China is upset about Singapore's enthusiasm for an increasing US presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing that China hopes countries will remain fair and objective over the South China Sea disputes.

Without mentioning the name, Geng admitted having noticed a recent Chinese newspaper report saying that Singapore had insisted on rendering the issue into the final document of the 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, which was held on September 17 and 18 at Venezuela's Margarita Island. More than 100 countries attended the summit, including Vietnam and Laos.

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China’s foreign ministry joins war of words against Singapore over South China Sea dispute

The foreign ministry has blamed an unspecified “individual nation” for stirring up tensions over the South China Sea dispute after an unusual war of words broke out between the Singaporean envoy and the editor-in-chief of an influential mainland tabloid newspaper.

The incident underscores the difficulty Singapore faces in maintaining good ties with an assertive Beijing.

Without directly naming Singapore, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said an “individual nation” had insisted on including South China Sea issues in the final document of the recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Venezuela on September 18.

related:
There may be trouble ahead for China and Singapore
The South China Sea shadow over Beijing’s ties with Singapore
Chinese diplomat tells Singapore to stay out of South China Sea disputes
Obama celebrates 50 years of US-Singapore relations with state dinner


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WHAT’S REALLY MAKING BEIJING ANGRY WITH SINGAPORE?

The argument between Singapore’s ambassador to China and the editor-in-chief of the nationalistic Chinese tabloid Global Times is less about specific actions and deeds as it is about Beijing’s growing disappointment with the tiny Asian city-state.

Until recently, the two nations – which share deep ethnic and cultural bonds – had enjoyed what was often described as a special relationship. This was manifest most clearly in two recent events – China’s rare high-profile treatment of the death of Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew in March last year and Singapore’s hosting of the historic meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping ( 習近平 ) and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou last November.

But since then, mistrust has grown, spurred by the escalating rivalry between China and the United States and the landmark ruling by The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12 denying Chinese claims to huge swathes of the South China Sea.

related: Troubled waters - Beijing’s ‘anger’ lurks beneath surface of Singapore-Global Times South China Sea row

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China warns PM Lee over South China Sea

An opinion piece was published on the Global Times, cautioning PM Lee Hsien Loong with regard to what he said during his recent official state visit to US. The Global Times is a daily Chinese newspaper published by the People’s Daily news group, which is the biggest newspaper group in China. This news group comes directly under the purview of the Chinese Communist Party.

News published by the group frequently provides direct information on the policies and viewpoints of the Chinese government. The Global Times was created to focus on international issues from the Chinese government’s perspective. As such, opinion pieces featured in Global Times carry considerable weight in representing the position of the Chinese government.


The piece published on 4 Aug, started by saying that President Obama had given PM Lee a grand reception, usually reserved for leaders of big countries and American allies.

related: PM Lee’s speech at White House state dinner angers China

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The new normal of Singapore’s relations with China
The death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, a muscular China and the South China Sea dispute are pushing Sino-S'pore ties into a new chapter

Up till about a year ago, relations between S'pore and China could loosely be grouped into two eras: Mao and post-Mao.

In the first, which ran from the founding of People’s Republic in 1949 to 1978, ties between the pair of new nations were mostly cold.

Beijing, under the leadership of Mao Zedong, wanted to increase the loyalty of overseas Chinese to China and did not recognise the existence of an independent Singapore up to 1970.

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Singapore-China ties -- 7 things to know about 25 years of diplomatic relations
Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping (left) with S'pore PM Lee Hsien Loong in 2010.PHOTO: ZAOBAO

S'pore and China mark 25 years of diplomatic relations this year.

On Friday (Nov 6), President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan will make their first state visit to Singapore. In many ways, the ties between Singapore, a city-state of 5.5 million, and China, a behemoth with 1.4 billion people, have been unique.

Here are seven things about the two countries' relationship.
  • HANDSHAKE SEALS THE DEAL
  • WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?
  • BACK IN THE 1970S
  • SENDING AMBASSADORS
  • WE MEAN BUSINESS
  • JOINT PROJECTS
  • PANDA DIPLOMACY
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Singapore-China relations: A progressive partnership

Last year, S'pore and China commemorated 25 years of diplomatic relations, culminating in the exchange of state visits by Singapore President Tony Tan and Chinese President Xi Jinping. We established an All-Round Cooperative Partnership Progressing with the Times.

Singapore and China have had interactions for many centuries. S'pore has always been part of the Maritime Silk Road. The majority of our (Singapore’s) citizens have ancestors from China. We enjoy a long-standing, wide-ranging relationship that transcends politics. The landmark visits by Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (1976) and China’s former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (1978) laid a strong foundation for the modern phase of our bilateral relations, prior to the establishment of formal diplomatic ties in 1990.

Lee Kuan Yew always believed that a strong China that was positively engaged with Southeast Asia would strongly benefit the region. That was why he suggested we jointly develop the Suzhou Industrial Park in 1994, our first government-to-government project, to promote the exchange of development experiences.

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Sino-Singapore Relations: Looking Back and Looking Forward

China's relations with Southeast Asia, traditionally called Nanyang ("South Sea") by the Chinese, are extensive and deep-rooted on account of history, geography and migration. After the formation of the People's Republic in 1949, the relations assumed new dimensions, with complex ideological and geo-political forces coming into play, and this gave rise to more than two decades of Cold War relations. It was not till the early 1970s, with the advent of international d閠ente, before individual Southeast Asian countries started to normalize relations with China.

Singapore is part of Southeast Asia. As such, Singapore's relations with China cannot be free from the influence of political and economic forces that have generallly shaped China's overall relations with the Southeast Asian region. When China's relations with some Southeast Asian countries became very tense during the Cold War period, this also adversely affected Singapore's relations with China.

On the other hand, Singapore's relations with China, has also been guided by a high sense of pragmatism. In separating trade from politics, pragmatism had enabled Sino-Singapore relations to survive the Cold War period. In the 1950s and 1960s when China's trade with Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand was either seriously disrupted or banned altogether, China's trade with Singapore continued uninterrupted. In fact, for three decades from 1950 to 1990, Sino-Singapore trade was conducted in the absence of a formal diplomatic framework


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Singapore-China Relations: Past, Present and Future

Singapore and China have just celebrated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It is therefore an opportune moment to take stock of this important relationship.

The People's Republic of China was established in 1949. The Republic of Singapore was established in 1965. From 1965 until the late 1970s, political relations between China and Singapore were unfriendly and acrimonious. China, under Chairman Mao, was a revolutionary country. It sought to export revolution to Southeast Asia and gave both material and moral support to the communist parties and their armed struggles. The leaders of Singapore were often condemned as the running dogs of the imperialists.

Ending of the Mao Era - Things began to improve following the successful visits to China by Singapore's Foreign Minister, Mr S Rajaratnam, in 1975 and by Singapore's Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, in 1976. Mr Lee called on Chairman Mao shortly before he passed away that year. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping, the new defacto leader of China, visited Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. I believe that his heart-to-heart talk with Mr Lee Kuan Yew, in Singapore, convinced him to change China's policy towards the region. In his memoirs, Mr Lee recounted that exhortations for the overthrow of governments in South-east Asia from broadcasting stations in China stopped a year after his meeting with Deng in Singapore in November 1978.

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People's Republic of China

Singapore enjoys strong and substantive relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), anchored by a steady flow of high-level visits, multifaceted cooperation, growing people-to-people exchanges, and robust economic ties.

Since 2013, China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner, and Singapore has been China’s largest foreign investor. Singapore and China have established three Government-to-Government projects – (i) the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park; (ii) the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City; and (iii) the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity (Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, CCI) – as well as several private sector-led, government-supported initiatives such as the Guangzhou Knowledge City, the Singapore-Sichuan Hi-Tech Innovation Park, the Nanjing Eco High-Tech Island, and the Jilin Food Zone. At the provincial level, we have seven provincial business and economic councils with Sichuan, Shandong, Liaoning, Zhejiang, Tianjin, Guangdong and Jiangsu. Since the mid-1990s, more than 50,000 Chinese officials have come to Singapore for various study visits and training programmes.

In 2015, Singapore and China celebrated the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations and released a Joint Statement that characterised bilateral relations as an “All-Round Cooperative Partnership Progressing with the Times”. Following PRC President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to Singapore in 2015, both sides agreed to launch negotiations to upgrade the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA) with the aim of concluding negotiations by the end of 2016. The CSFTA, which came into effect in 2009, was the first bilateral FTA that China had concluded with an Asian country. The launch of the CCI, our third Government-to-Government project, was also announced after President Xi’s visit. The CCI will comprise four pillars: financial services, aviation, transport and logistics, and information and communications technology.

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Singapore-China relations

Showcasing the substantive and multi-faceted Singapore–China relationship, this book examines the political, economic, socio-cultural, people-to-people and even military exchanges between the two countries. It also highlights flagship projects and other key private sector-led projects that have become hallmarks of bilateral cooperation.

The book argues that the current level of cooperation is built on the earlier foundation laid by Lee Kuan Yew and Deng Xiaoping. In a way, the bilateral relationship is a unique one. For one, Deng Xiaoping had singled out Singapore as a model for China's reforms and China today continues to find Singapore's experience relevant. Singapore is also learning from China in the process. The two countries also have a number of bilateral institutional mechanisms that have become more important in reviewing existing cooperation and identifying new ways of working together.

Rather than simply provide an overview of bilateral relations, the book highlights the unique or distinguishing features of the Singapore–China relationship.

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Singapore-China ties: A progressive partnership

Last year, Singapore and China commemorated 25 years of diplomatic relations, culminating in the exchange of state visits by Singapore President Tony Tan and Chinese President Xi Jinping. We established an All-Round Cooperative Partnership Progressing with the Times.

Singapore and China have had interactions for many centuries. Singapore has always been part of the Maritime Silk Road. The majority of our (Singapore's) citizens have ancestors from China. We enjoy a long-standing, wide-ranging relationship that transcends politics. The landmark visits by Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (1976) and China's former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (1978) laid a strong foundation for the modern phase of our bilateral relations, prior to the establishment of formal diplomatic ties in 1990.

Lee Kuan Yew always believed that a strong China that was positively engaged with Southeast Asia would strongly benefit the region. That was why he suggested we jointly develop the Suzhou Industrial Park in 1994, our first government-to-government project, to promote the exchange of development experiences.

read more

Sino-Singapore Relations

China and Singapore are good neighbors, and the friendship between our countries and peoples is rooted in history. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and Singapore.

Over the past 25 years, thanks to the joint efforts from both sides, our bilateral relations have enjoyed fast and ever-deepening growth in an all-round way, and mutually beneficial cooperation has achieved fruitful outcomes in areas like economy and trade, investment, finance, social governance and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Looking into the future, China-Singapore friendship boasts great potential and broad prospect, and is about to enter a new era of rapid growth.

The Chinese embassy in Singapore is committed to promoting continued growth of our friendship and all-round cooperation. We sincerely hope this website will be your friend and serve as a window on China and China-Singapore relations and also a bridge of friendship between our peoples.

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Beijing seeks to cement relations with Singapore

Beijing says it hopes Singapore can play a constructive role for peace and stability in the region, as it welcomes the country's prime minister who has been caught in a media storm recently for his China-related remarks.


Welcoming his Singaporean counterpart, Premier Li Keqiang told Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that China is determined to seek peaceful development.

But the country's will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity is unswerving, said Li, referring to territorial disputes with some neighboring countries.

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Relations between China and Singapore


China and Singapore established diplomatic relations on 3 October 1990.


After the founding of New China, Singapore, then under the rule of British colonial authorities, maintained people-to-people trade relations with China. The contacts between the two countries began to increase since mid-70s.The two sides established their Commercial Representatives' Offices in each other's country in 1981 and started their air service in 1985.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations of the two countries, President Yang Shangkun (in 1993), President Jiang Zemin (in 1994), Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Li Ruihuan (in 1995) and Premier Li Peng (in 1997) from China visited Singapore. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (in 1990), President Wee Kim Wee (in 1991), Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew (in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2000), Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong (in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2000), President Ong Teng Cheong (in 1995), Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (in 1995 and 2000) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Tony Tan Keng Yam (in 1997) from Singpore visited China.

Singapore has Consulates-General in Shanghai, Xiamen and Hong Kong.

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Singapore-China ties 'going strong'

Singapore-China ties will remain strong even after the death of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam, after he became only the second Singapore leader after Mr Lee to be conferred an honorary doctorate in China.

"Mr Lee's passing marks the end of an era but it does not mean the end of strong China-Singapore relations," Dr Tan said yesterday in response to a question from a student at Nankai University. The institution conferred the doctorate on Dr Tan for his contribution to bilateral ties.

"We have established other platforms. Our ministers meet very frequently, many delegations of officials from China visit Singapore, and from Singapore to China, to learn from each other."


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China–Singapore relations


People's Republic of China – Singapore relations officially started on October 3, 1990. Diplomatic missions were established in the early 1990s based on trade and the warming of ties from other ASEAN countries towards mainland China.


Historic links between the two nations' people began much earlier than the founding of the People's Republic of China in October 1949. Migrant Chinese labourers escaping poverty and war came to what was known as Nanyang to the Chinese to Singapore, which was part of the Straits Settlements. Many ethnic Chinese Singaporeans derived their ancestral roots in southern China from Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan provinces.

During British rule in Singapore and then under British Malaya before independence, Singapore and the Republic of China had diplomatic relations. When Singapore became independent in 1965 from Malaysia, it continued to recognise the Republic of China as the legitimate government of China. In the 1970s, People's Republic of China and Singapore began unofficial relations. This led to the exchange of Commercial Representatives' Offices between the two nations in 1981. In 1985, commercial air services between mainland China and Singapore commenced.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries officially began in 1990. Singapore was the last country in South East Asia to formally recognise the People's Republic of China out of respect to Indonesia, sensitivities in the region and fears from neighbouring countries of communism in those times. Singapore still maintains unofficial relations with the ROC, including the continuation of a controversial military training and facilities agreement from 1975. This is due to a lack of usable space in built-up Singapore. The People's Republic of China has proposed that Singapore relocate some of its training facilities from Taiwan to Hainan province, however Singapore has not as of yet accepted such an offer.

Bilateral ties took a dive when Singapore's deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong travelled to Taiwan for a private visit in 2004. The People's Republic of China took offence to the trip as due to the complicated political status of the region Later in 2004, Chinese government put bilateral relations on hold.


Relations between the two countries gradually improved as China and Singapore forged agreements in free trade, education, foreign investment and technology. Examples are the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, which were constructed with the help of Singapore.

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Singapore and China

Singapore enjoys strong and substantive relations with China, anchored by a steady flow of high-level visits, strengthening economic ties, and growing people-to-people exchanges. Over the past year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam and other Ministers made separate visits to China. From the Chinese side, Politburo Standing Committee Member and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, Poliburo Members Zhao Leji and Sun Chunlan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and Anhui Party Secretary Zhang Baoshun visited Singapore. In October 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Teo and Vice Premier Zhang co-chaired the 10th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation as well as Joint Steering Councils for both the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city. The growing people-to-people exchanges between the two countries are supplemented by on-going programmes in Human Resource Development (HRD) cooperation. Both sides also enjoy close cooperation in regional and international fora.

Singapore and China continue to enjoy robust economic ties. In 2013, China became Singapore's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in 2013 rising 11.0% from the previous year to S$115.2 billion.  As of 2012, China remained our top investment destination. Besides our two flagship government-to-government projects – the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-city – we have also stepped up economic engagement with China at the provincial level through our seven provincial councils in Sichuan, Shandong, Liaoning, Zhejiang, Tianjin, Guangdong, and Jiangsu. Both sides have also strengthened economic links through private sector-led initiatives such as the Guangzhou Knowledge City, the Singapore-Sichuan Hi-Tech Innovation Park, and the Jilin Food Zone. The China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (CSFTA), which came into effect in January 2009, is the first comprehensive bilateral FTA that China has concluded with an Asian country. Singapore and China have also agreed to enhance financial services cooperation under the CSFTA.

Going beyond the traditional parameters of economic cooperation, Singapore and China are also exploring new spheres of collaboration in education, culture, social management and finance. Some recent initiatives include the Singapore-China Forum on Social Management, the education and research collaboration between the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Zhejiang University, and the establishment of the China Cultural Centre in Singapore. Singapore also welcomed the arrival of the two Giant Pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, in September 2012.

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Singapore China G-to-G Projects
Chinese President Xi Jinping giving a speech at the state banquet held in his honour at the Istana on Nov 6, 2015.ST FOTO: KOR KIAN BENG

The 3d Singapore-China government-led project will be based in Chongqing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a state banquet at the Istana on Friday (Nov 6).

"During my visit, the 2 sides will officially launch the third project based in Chongqing," Mr Xi said.

The bilateral project will be on the theme of "modern connectivity and modern services", and could help lower the cost of doing business in China's western region.

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Singapore military vehicles seizure in Hong Kong

Multiple ministers have sought to downplay the ongoing friction between Singapore and China regarding the seizure of nine military vehicles belonging to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in Hong Kong.

Various publications report that Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen called for caution in speculating why Hong Kong customs offloaded and detained the shipment of Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles while en route from Taiwan to Singapore.

Many have postulated that it's part of Beijing's ploy to browbeat Singapore in the several matters, including the city-state's position on the South China Sea dispute and the continuing military ties with Taiwan — a nation that the Chinese government regards as a breakaway province.


Singapore rebuts Global Times report on South China Sea ruling
Singapore denies supporting the Philippines' push for arbitration over the territory's ownership

Beijing should make Singapore "pay the price for seriously damaging China's interests" with retaliations and sanctions, an influential Chinese military advisor has said.

Professor Jin Yinan, of the Public Liberation Army's National Defence University, made the remarks on Chinese-state radio on Thursday (29 September), reported the South China Morning Post.

The statement is the latest offensive in an on-going war of words over the South China Sea dispute after the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, reported that Singapore endorsed the Philippines' case to bring international arbitration against China.


Singapore-China-US Relations

China's foreign ministry called on Singapore to respect China's stance on the South China Sea issue on Tuesday, a further indication that China is upset about Singapore's enthusiasm for an increasing US presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing that China hopes countries will remain fair and objective over the South China Sea disputes.

Without mentioning the name, Geng admitted having noticed a recent Chinese newspaper report saying that Singapore had insisted on rendering the issue into the final document of the 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, which was held on September 17 and 18 at Venezuela's Margarita Island. More than 100 countries attended the summit, including Vietnam and Laos.

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

3 best nature trails to see in Singapore

The best trails to see Singapore’s surprisingly diverse flora & fauna:

  • SUNGEI BULOH WETLAND RESERVE (MORE THAN A WETLAND)
  • LOWER PEIRCE TRAIL
  • PRUNUS TRIAL AT MACRITCHIE BOARDWALKS

Rare birds like the Asia dowitcher stop in Singapore once a year during the bird migratory month from September to March. Foto: Ben Lee

There are chances to see a Lesser Mousedeer in the Lower Peirce Trail. The former feeds on elaves and shoots and are more active at night. Foto: Ben Lee

At the Mangrove Swamp in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, there are chance of sightings to see a saltwater crocodile. Foto: Ben lee

At the Lower Perice Trail, native animals more commonly seen includes the Plaintain Squirrel. Foto: Ben Lee

The Nibong Palm is one out of the other many palm trees that can be found at the Lower Peirce Trail. Foto: National Parks Board

The Banded Woodpecker can be found at the Prunus Trail at Macritchie Boardwalks perched amidst the canopies. Foto: Ruth Foo Xin

The Prunus Trail located at the edge of Lower Peirce Reservoir is the last remaining mature secondary forest in Singapore. Foto: Muhd Affandi

Located at the Prunus Trail at Macritchie Boardwalks, the Tembusu tree are one of the many trees you can find there. Foto: Chan Su Hooi

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Monday, 5 December 2016

Trump tweets conversation with Taiwanese leader but not Singapore’s


America’s President-Elect Donald Trump yesterday (1 Dec) tweeted about the phone call he had from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The call, is believed to be the first between a US president or president-elect and a leader of Taiwan since diplomatic relations between Washington and the island were cut in 1979.

Trump also received a call from Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. Mr Lee writing in his Facebook said that the call was to congratulate him on winning the US presidential elections and to invite him and his family to visit Singapore.

But Trump’s phone call with with Tsai was more tweet-worthy than his conversation with Lee because while Singapore has had close relationship with the ruling elites in Washington under three Prime Ministers, Taiwan’s leaders have not had direct contact with their US counterparts since 1979.

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Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump
The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!

related: Facebook

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Trump says Taiwan president called me to offer congratulations

U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump said on Friday that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called him on Friday to congratulate him on his election win.

Trump's conversation with Tsai was the first such contact with Taiwan by a president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter adopted a one-China policy in 1979 and is likely to infuriate Beijing.

"The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!" Trump said in a Twitter message. REUTERS

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Trump criticises Beijing in defence of call with Taiwan’s leader

Two days after Donald Trump created a
diplomatic dispute with China over Taiwan, the president-elect took to Twitter on Sunday evening to criticise Beijing and defend his decision to speak with the Taiwanese president. China issued a protest on Saturday after Mr Trump spoke on the phone with Tsai Ing-wen, the first such contact with a Taiwanese leader since the US severed diplomatic ties in 1979.

Although vice-president elect Mike Pence sought to play down the controversy on Sunday morning, describing the conversation as a “courtesy call”, Mr Trump used Twitter hours later to slam Chinese economic and foreign policies — the latest instance of the president-elect trying to apply the unconventional, improvised style from his election campaign to the world of diplomacy.
“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?” he asked. “I don’t think so!”

China lodges protest after Trump call with Taiwan president

China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the "petty" move.

The 10-minute telephone call with Taiwan's leadership was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China".

China's Foreign Ministry said it had lodged "stern representations" with what it called the "relevant U.S. side", urging the careful handling of the Taiwan issue to avoid any unnecessary disturbances in ties.

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China lodges formal protest after Donald Trump’s Taiwan call

The Chinese government has lodged a formal protest with Washington over Donald Trump’s phone call with the leader of Taiwan, as the US president-elect triggered a diplomatic dispute with Beijing more than a month before he assumes office.

The call with Tsai Ing-wen is believed to be the first between a US president or president-elect and a president of Taiwan, which Beijing views as a renegade province, since diplomatic relations between Washington and the island were cut in 1979.

“It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday, adding that it had lodged “solemn representations with the US.

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Trump shrugs off fuss over Taiwan presdient's call

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is unapologetic about roiling diplomatic waters with his decision to speak on the phone with Taiwan’s leader, a breach of long-standing tradition that risks enmity from China.

The U.S. severed diplomatic ties with the self-governing island in 1979 but has maintained close unofficial relations and a commitment to support its defense.

Trump’s conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen drew an irritated, although understated, response from China, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the contact was “just a small trick by Taiwan” that he believed would not change U.S. policy toward China, according to Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV.


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'Utterly unnecessary': Donald Trump slammed for provoking tensions with China

A diplomatically explosive
phone call between president-elect Donald Trump and the president of Taiwan risks provoking a cold war between the United States and China with potentially catastrophic economic and security implications for the region and the world, according to former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr.

The phone call is thought to be the first official direct communication between an American president or president-elect and a Taiwanese leader since the US and China opened diplomatic relations in 1979.

According to a Taiwanese statement, Mr Trump and President Tsai Ing-wen discussed ways to "strengthen [Taiwanese] national defense, allowing the people better lives and a guarantee of security. The two briefly exchanged opinions on the situation in the Asia region".


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Trump-Tsai Phone Call a Good Start to Reforming US-Taiwan Relations


The transition team has announced that President-elect Donald Trump spoke by
phone with the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen Friday. Not only is there nothing wrong with this, it could be a sign of good things to come in America’s Taiwan policy.

U.S.-Taiwan relations operate under a number of restrictions derived from the three communiques with China that form the basis of America’s one China policy. Some of them are a necessary part of honoring America’s decision in 1979 to formally recognize the People’s Republic of China. Many are not.

The restrictions range from the symbolic, yet seemingly arbitrary–like the circumstances under which Taiwan’s Washington representative is permitted to use its historic residence, Twin Oaks, or display its flag–to more critical areas, like interaction between U.S. and Taiwanese military officers.

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Trump, Taiwan Put China on the Defensive With Historic Phone Call

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the leader of Taiwan put China on the defensive late Friday with a historic, upbeat phone call to discuss Washington’s role in possibly helping the diplomatically isolated island gain international status.

China’s foreign minister dubbed the 12-minute phone call by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen a “petty action” that will lead to no changes in Sino-U.S. relations.

But the communist leadership will watch for fallout, such as whether Trump talks again with Taiwan after his Jan. 20 inauguration or gives Taiwan some of what its president suggested on the call, experts predict.

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Donald Trump's phone call with Taiwan president risks China's wrath
Donald Trump’s conversation with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen is set to cause diplomatic waves. Photograph: Chiang Ying-ying/AP

Donald Trump looked to have sparked a potentially damaging diplomatic row with China on Friday after speaking to Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen on the telephone in a move experts said would anger Beijing.

The call, first reported by the Taipei Times and confirmed by the Financial Times, is thought to be the first between the leader of the island and a US president or president-elect since ties between America and Taiwan were severed in 1979, at Beijing’s behest.

The US closed its embassy in Taiwan – a democratically ruled island which Beijing considers a breakaway province – in the late 1970s following the historic rapprochement between Beijing and Washington that stemmed from Richard Nixon’s 1972 trip to China.

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China blames Taiwan for president's 'petty' phone call with Trump

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the first such contact between the two sides in nearly four decades, but China dismissed the call as a "petty action" by the self-ruled island it claims as its own.

The 10-minute telephone call with Taiwan's leadership was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China".

Hours after Friday's call, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed Taiwan for the exchange, avoiding what could have been a major rift with Washington just before Trump assumes the presidency.

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Lee Hsien Loong Facebook

Spoke to President-elect Donald J. Trump on the phone to congratulate him on winning the US presidential elections.

We talked about the close and long-standing friendship between Singapore and US. We cooperate in many areas – economic, defence and security, education, and people-to-people. Our relations have endured through nine US Presidents, and Singapore wants to work with the incoming Administration to further strengthen ties.

I invited Mr Trump and his family to visit Singapore, and looked forward to meeting him in person soon. – LHL

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PM Lee invites US President-elect Trump to visit S’pore during congratulatory phone call

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has invited United States President-elect Donald Trump to visit Singapore.

He extended the invitation during a telephone conversation to congratulate the newly elected Trump on his presidential election win.

PM Lee also spoke about the friendship between the two countries that has endured through nine US Presidents.

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PM Lee speaks with Trump, invites him to S’pore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called US President-elect Donald Trump to congratulate him on his win, and invited Mr Trump and his family to Singapore.

In a Facebook post on Friday (Dec 2) evening, Mr Lee also said they had spoken on “the close and long-standing” Singapore-US relations, adding that the Republic wants to wants to work with the incoming Administration to further strengthen ties”.

“We cooperate in many areas – economic, defence and security, education, and people-to-people. Our relations have endured through nine US Presidents,” added Mr Lee.

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Trump speaks with leaders of Afghanistan, Singapore

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone on Friday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Trump transition team said in a statement.

"The two men discussed the grave terrorism threats facing both countries and pledged to work more closely together in order to meet these growing threats," the statement said.

Trump also spoke on Friday with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. "The two men discussed the long history of good economic, political, and security relations between the United States and Singapore," according to the statement.

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Congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump!

Congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump! His candidacy took many by surprise. At each stage he defied expectations, and his journey has ultimately taken him to the White House.

It has been a contentious, ugly election season, that has exposed a bitter divide in the American people. Many will celebrate this result, while others will understandably be surprised and disappointed. But like the Brexit referendum in June, Mr Trump’s victory is part of a broader pattern in developed countries – reflecting a deep frustration with the way things are, and a strong wish to reassert a sense of identity, and somehow to change the status quo.

US voters have elected a President whom they feel best represents them. Singapore fully respects their decision. We will continue to work together with the United States to cultivate our strong ties. – LHL

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