A protest against Singapore has been launched by China's Foreign Ministry in connection with the nine armoured vehicles belonging to the Singapore Armed Forces that have been seized by Hong Kong customs after arriving at the Kwai Chung container terminal in a shipment from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
According to the Channel News Asia, China said that it is against any form of official exchanges, including military exchanges with Taiwan by countries that have diplomatic ties with Beijing.
"China has already made representations over this to the Singapore side," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in a press meeting, according to The Today Online.
He also added that China would like it if Singapore abides by Hong Kong's relevant laws and cooperate with the government in the investigation of the matter.
Singapore army vehicles reach Hong Kong
Singapore raised eyebrows when nine Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles wrapped in blue and grey covers and placed on container racks in a container ship, along with components and accessories, reached Hong Kong from Kaohsiung in Taiwan on 24 November.
Hong Kong authorities said they were trying to identify the owner and sender of the cargo, which is now kept in a secured access-controlled area at the River Trade Terminal . "Hong Kong was not its final destination. It is not known why the consignment was unloaded here ... We are still trying to identify the owner, sender and consignee of the cargo," said a government official who declined to be named, according to the South China Morning Post.
Singapore's Ministry of Defence said the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles confiscated at Hong Kong's Kwai container terminal were used by the Singaporean army which has been conducting training programmes in Taiwan.
"The Terrex ICVs were used by the Singapore Armed Forces in routine overseas training and shipped back via commercial means as with previous exercises," Ministry of Defence Singapore said, "Singapore authorities are providing relevant assistance to the Hong Kong Customs and expect the shipment to return to Singapore expeditiously," the defence department added.
Since 1970s Singapore and Taiwan maintains a longstanding military relationship and Singapore often uses Taiwan as grounds for infantry training.