‘Melt down Singapore troop carriers’
BEIJING: Armoured troop carriers belonging to Singapore and currently impounded in Hong Kong should be “melted down”, China’s influential state-run tabloid Global Times said yesterday, in its second swipe at the island nation in two days.
The nine troop carriers were impounded in Hong Kong last week en route back from Taiwan, sparking a rebuke to Singapore from China about maintaining military ties with self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province.
Ties between China and Singapore have been strained in recent months, particularly over the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing, which claims most of the waters, suspects Singapore of siding with the US.
Beijing has accused Washington of deliberately creating tension by sailing its ships close to China’s islands.
The Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, blasted Singapore’s “carelessness” with the armoured vehicles, which it said reflected a failure to take seriously China’s displeasure over its military relationship with Taiwan.
“Singapore’s image in China is now so rotten that ordinary Chinese people think the best thing to do with the ‘confiscated’ armoured vehicles that ‘walked right into our trap’ is to send them to the steel mills to be melted down,” it said.
The editorial, published in the paper’s Chinese edition, whose website attracts millions of visitors daily, adopts a similarly strident tone to a Monday commentary in its much less read English edition, accusing Singapore of “hypocrisy”. – Reuters