An online petition, which has garnered 30 signatures so far, has proposed that Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong should apologise to China and ask for safe return of our property (the 9 armoured vehicles from Taiwan which were seized in Hong Kong after passing through Xiamen).
Source: Straits Times
Here are some excerpts from the petition:
There is widespread speculation this action was done in retaliation for Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong’s antagonistic remarks to China during the South China Sea dispute between China and Philippines, in which Singapore is NOT a party. Lee Hsien Loong’s remarks that China respect the Hague’s ruling drew condemnation from China’s military and political leaders. Not being contended, PM Lee then taunted China once more during a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) meeting that China should not see itself as a “Middle Kingdom” in this region.
We feel that our PM’s gaffe is a case of bad diplomacy because China did nothing to Singapore to warrant such a response. Its understandable for China’s leaders to feel annoyed. We would like PM Lee to apologise to China and help restore our peaceful relationship, while supporting Singapore’s call for the speedy and safe return of our property.
We are not anti-West, anti-China or against any country. We don’t have to agree with any country or do anything against our will. Equally, we don’t have to support and agree with everything China does either. Our neutrality on the world stage is an asset that makes us a friend to most countries.
So remember – we don’t have to agree with the provocative actions of our PM, but we are allowed freedom of opinion in Singapore to express this and still have loyalty to our country.
What issues should we keep in mind?
1. The South China Sea issue does affect Singapore
It’s only in the last 51 years that Singapore is an independent nation by itself.
If we support China’s stand that it can claim the islands in the South China Sea because they “historically” belong to China, it means UK, Malaysia and Indonesia can also claim the island of Singapore is theirs right?
Source: Peace and tranquility
If countries don’t respect international laws, we could be claimed by another country based on historical reasons.
So if we don’t support the rule of international law, what else can we count on to remain independent?
2. The petition highlights our neutrality, yet calls for PM Lee to apologise to China
If we are neutral, we defer back to the international law to justly decide international disputes.
Since we didn’t take sides and choose between China or the other ASEAN countries which are contesting the South China Sea issue, it’s a bit strange to be apologising for our neutrality.
3. Which country is this petition really supporting?
I wonder if this petition is pro-Singapore or pro-China.
Does the Prime Minister of Singapore have to apologise to China if the shipping company messes up the paperwork?
What did some respondents say?
Some agreed that PM Lee should apologise.
Some disagreed with the petition.
What do you think?
Also published on Medium.