Skip to comments.Singapore says to back China in any Taiwan conflict
Posted on 08/22/2004 12:35:31 PM PDT by LonghornFreeper
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will not support Taiwan if China attacks the island in retaliation for any push for independence, Singapore's new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday, as tensions simmer on the Taiwan strait.
Lee, embroiled in a spat with China over his visit to Taiwan last month, said he was "very worried by the growth of Taiwanese independent forces" and that there was "a real risk of miscalculation and mishap" on the Taiwan strait.
"If a war breaks out across the straits, we will be forced to choose between the two sides," Lee said in his first policy speech since becoming premier on Aug. 12. "If the conflict is provoked by Taiwan, then Singapore cannot support Taiwan."
By choosing sides, Lee may hope to quell Beijing's fury over his July 10-12 trip to Taiwan that led Chinese officials this month to threaten to delay free-trade talks between Singapore and China scheduled for November.
"It would be the height of absurdity for Singapore to quarrel with China over Taiwan," said Lee.
Tensions are especially high between Taiwan and China because Beijing believes the island it views as a renegade province could push for formal statehood under President Chen Shui-bian. It is a move, China says, that can lead to war.
China's 2.5-million-strong People's Liberation Army is readying for a possible showdown.
"If Taiwan goes for independence, Singapore will not recognise it. In fact, no Asian country will recognise it," Lee said. "China will fight. Win or lose, Taiwan will be devastated. Unfortunately I only met very few Taiwanese leaders who understood this."
In Taiwan, Lee dined with Chen and met opposition Nationalist Party leader Lien Chan and Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou.
Analysts have expressed concern that Chen is willing to risk everything, even war, to formalise the island's separation from China, threatening to turn the Taiwan Strait into one of Asia's most dangerous flashpoints.
"I came back from Taiwan more troubled than before I went," said Lee. "There is a stronger Taiwanese identity emerging. More people are speaking in the Taiwanese dialect."
"A move by Taiwan towards independence is neither in Singapore's nor the region's interest," Lee said.
Singapore's "one-China" policy, which defines Taiwan as part of China and opposes independence for Taiwan, would not change said Lee.
"Taiwan's economy will progressively be integrated with China's. This process is inexorable; there can be no other final outcome," he said.
Lee's father, modern Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew, has maintained close ties with China and Taiwan and hosted ice-breaking talks for them in Singapore in 1993.
yeah... Well, at least we'll lose San Fransisco ... look ont he bright side.
Also, Singapore has a policy of recognizing neither country which is the reason Lee Kuan Yew was welcome whenever he visited both mainland China and Taiwan.
Singapore doesn't want to be nuked and it knows it won't get our front line missile shield system.
Asian leaders are long term and strategic thinkers. China may win or lose the battle over Taiwan, but she will continue her economic growth. By the end of the 21st Century she will by economics dominate the Far East. Question is where is US power in relation to China in the Far East? Ideology and emotions aside, Singapore has a geo political decision to make. A city state does not survive between Malaysia and Indonesia, plus the Chinese Maoist inspired wars of liberation, United States, British and even India interests without being astute.
"Asian leaders are long term and strategic thinkers. China may win or lose the battle over Taiwan, but she will continue her economic growth."
As China moves forward, Taiwan will someday peacefully rejoin with the mainland. If the present leaders of Taiwan do not press for official independance, in fifty years or so the differences will be so little there will be no problem.
The regaining of "control" over Hong Kong and Macau will be the cure of China given time.
Just the kind of action you & I have been trying to convince folks about here-Singapore might be a big ally of the US against terror & Iraq,but against China,no thanx.....
China is far far different from anything the US has faced since Germany & Japan 60 years ago & they both didnt have nukes.
If one thinks that Singapore is switching over to the Chinese side-they should also take note of the fact that starting this year the Singapore army & airforce will commence training on Indian soil-something that Vietnam & Malaysia seems to be increasing.This deal with China is all about trade & long term interests.
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