Ab­sence of Lee Hsien Loong at China fo­rum a sign that things aren’t the same

New Straits Times - - News - BEATRICE NITA JAY PRO-BEI­JING news­pa­per has re­ported that the ab­sence of Sin­ga­porean Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong from the One Belt One Road fo­rum in China re­cently was a “wa­ter­shed mo­ment” in Bei­jing-Sin­ga­pore ties. in its re­port, said Lee’s ab­sence f

AIn­done­sia, the Philip­pines and Viet­nam, have “re­cently mended fences with China and dis­tanced them­selves from the United States”.

The re­port, which was writ­ten by Thomas Hon Wing Polin, said other lead­ers of South­east Asian coun­tries had re­alised that the Chi­nese could of­fer them far greater ben­e­fits in the 21st cen­tury than the Amer­i­cans. How­ever, it said the same sen­ti­ment was not felt by Sin­ga­pore’s lead­ers. “Re­mark­ably, Sin­ga­pore’s cur­rent lead­ers seem un­aware of such ba­sic re­al­i­ties. That leaves the Lion City as the sole, con­spic­u­ously pro-US coun­try in South­east Asia. It must feel very lonely.”

It said that while many have writ­ten and spec­u­lated on the rea­sons for Bei­jing’s be­hav­iour to­wards Sin­ga­pore,

views, per­haps, best rep­re­sent the ac­tual views of the Chi­nese.

The news­pa­per’s re­port stated that it was clear that the Chi­nese were de­sign­ing the One Belt One Road megapro­ject to by­pass Sin­ga­pore.

“The des­ig­nated Belt and Road ports in South­east Asia are Me­laka in Malaysia and Tan­jong Priok near Jakarta, In­done­sia’s cap­i­tal. Such marginal­i­sa­tion of Sin­ga­pore would mean a huge blow to its eco­nomic for­tunes in the longer term.”

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