After nine armored personnel carriers (APCs) were impounded in Hong Kong by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, there is speculation that China’s move was premeditated, in order to ensure that Singapore aligns itself with China as it seeks to assert itself as a regional superpower.
This is to show the extent of China's displeasure with Singapore PM Lee's recent uncalled for comments on China's… https://t.co/MUGTp0cKVm
— AsianMacro (@AsianMacro) November 24, 2016
As Singapore scrambles to recover 9 troop carriers impounded in Hong Kong… Is China sending Singapore a message? https://t.co/iNOAdaSRTl
— Kristie Lu Stout (@klustout) November 29, 2016
Certain quarters have asked for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to apologize for any statements in the past that have been contradictory to China’s expansionist “Nine-Dash Line” claims in the South China Sea. An online petition has even been circulated:
— Singapore News (@singaporenews) November 28, 2016
Some of the pro-Beijing crowd criticizing the Prime Minister included opportunistic Opposition figures who saw an opportunity to take a shot at a Prime Minister of a party that has been in party since the country’s independence from Malaysia.
PM Lee is to blame? https://t.co/3yHeqRlmkm
— All Singapore Stuff (@allsgstuff) November 29, 2016
The communist apologists demand that the Prime Minister apologize for any unfriendly remarks towards China. Supporters point to populist leaders such as Najib Razak of Malaysia and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who are running off to align themselves with Beijing and are reaping the “benefits” of multi-billion dollar construction projects, such as the Iskandar development in southern Malaysia.
Duterte’s shift towards China exposes PM Lee’s rudderless leadership of Singapore: Duterte’s shift towards Ch… https://t.co/I54GVDufN5
— Singapore News Links (@dlSingapore) October 31, 2016
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Due to Singapore’s small size, it has to conduct its military training operations on foreign soil, and has been doing so with Taiwan since “Operation Starlight” commenced in the mid ’70s. It has been an open secret that this has been occurring.
Yet, Singaporean troop deployments in Taiwan under Operation Starlight have already come down to 3,000 a year from a peak of 15,000. Singapore would not be able to realistically conduct large-scale training exercises required on Taiwanese soil with lower troop levels.
When China bullies small neighbors, the world notices; Singapore-Taiwan Starlight training program dates to 1975 https://t.co/EghpOyDtlg
— Patrick Cronin (@PMCroninCNAS) November 28, 2016
Citizens took to social media to voice their displeasure with the threat against their independence and panned any suggestion that Singapore’s leadership should apologize for any remarks that challenged China’s claims over territory in Singapore’s backyard.
— Singapore News (@singaporenews) November 30, 2016