Long-standing diplomatic relations between China and Singapore

Year: 2020

This post is written as a brief comment to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Singapore’s diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China.

“Singapore is the largest investor in China. Singapore’s economy has also benefited from investments from China and flow of human capital to supplement our shrinking domestic workforce.

It is important to recognise certain unavoidable truths.

First, Singapore being in South East Asia is within the Chinese sphere of influence which overlaps with that of America’s historical interest in the same region and the Pacific as a whole. But with one important difference. China is Asia and in Asia while the United States is in North America.

Second, China is on an ascendant economically and geo-politically and all countries in Asia must come to terms and a degree of accommodation with the implications.

Third, Singapore is a trading nation. We need clear passages through the South China Sea and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Thus we have a vested interest in peace, stability and cooperation despite Great Power rivalry. We have political leverage and goodwill with both China and the US which must be deployed to that end.

Finally, xenophobia and nativism is ultimately self defeating as is cynicism of the motives of new migrants or those here to work. Hate and suspicion generates a feedback loop. This is neither desirable nor tolerable and undercuts Singapore’s internal stability.”

– Devadas Krishnadas