08 October 2016
Recent criticism of Singapore by Chinese scholars and pundits over South China Sea tensions further underscores a noticeable turning point in China’s assertiveness as a rising power.
The turn is all the more significant because it involves a sharp dip in the highly publicised warm relationship between the two countries, particularly in the economic and political domains, as symbolised by their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
It is therefore incongruous that Beijing’s media pundits and defence scholars should deem it fit to take Singapore to task for allegedly stirring the pot of South China Sea tensions.
They cited fabricated reports of what Singapore was said to have done at the recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Venezuela, contrary to the official record, and threatened to punish Singapore for it. At the summit, Chinese diplomats prevailed on the host country and the NAM Chair, Venezuela, not to allow regional states to follow the established practice of settling the relevant regional paragraphs in their own way. Asean, which was always responsible for the South-east Asia portion of the communique, was prevented from updating the South-east Asian situation because China did not want reference to the Asean Summit paragraphs on the South China Sea.
… Mushahid Ali is a senior fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. This article first appeared in RSIS Commentary.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 10/10/2016