China has warned Singapore over ties with Taiwan, which it claims is a breakaway Chinese territory, and the communist party mouthpiece Global Times accused the island nation of hypocrisy. The wrath of Beijing followed the seizure of nine military tanks in Hong Kong, which were being shipped from Taiwan to Singapore.
China's foreign ministry spokesman said a formal protest has been lodged with Singapore after the armoured troop carriers were intercepted in Hong Kong last week. Singapore later confirmed the tanks belonged to its army. Beijing said it "consistently and resolutely opposes any form of official exchanges, including military exchanges and cooperation" with Taiwan."
The Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles were being shipped back to Singapore from Taiwan where the armed forces were believed to have been undergoing training. "China has already made representations over this to the Singapore side," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday. Beijing also demanded that Singapore abide by Hong Kong laws in the aftermath of the seizure of the military vehicles. Singapore officials travelled to Hong Kong on Friday to resolve the standoff.
Hong Kong's crowd funded news agency Factwire, which was the first to report that the seized armoured vehicles belonged to Singapore, said Chinese officials had tipped off Hong Kong customs about the shipment of Singapore military vehicles.
Meanwhile, Global Times, which officially voices the Chinese Communist party's stance on global issues, lashed out at Singapore. The paper said Singapore's slant towards the US is obvious now and that the city state is working against the One-China principle.
Singapore's actions that change public opinion about China will "result in a possible adjustment to Beijing's foreign policies profoundly impact Singapore's economy," the paper warned.
The paper said Singapore is becoming a platform for Washington to contain and deter Beijing. "Singapore claimed it was not picking sides in the South China Sea disputes, but its remarks about the issue are far from neutral; instead, it has actually complicated and expanded the scale of the case."
The military and other ties between Singapore and Taiwan go back to the 1970s but China says Singapore should not have continued the military partnership after it established diplomatic ties with Being in the 1990s.