China has asked Singapore to "respect" Beijing's position regarding the issue of a recent international tribunal ruling on the disputed South China Sea. The Chinese government has also urged Singapore to respect the general agreement that it has reached with ASEAN.
In a statement on Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying said: "China hopes that Singapore...can maintain an objective and fair position as the coordinator of China and ASEAN dialogue relations, so as to advance Sino-Singapore relations and healthy and stable China-ASEAN ties."
Chinese spokesperson made these remarks in response to the statement made by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a reception hosted by the United States Chamber of Commerce and US-ASEAN Business Council in Washington on Tuesday.
PM Lee had said that he "did not think China has changed its policy on its claims in the South China Sea after the ruling".
Lee also said it is difficult for countries to "walk back" from their positions. He said very few countries can say "well, it's not quite so absolute and it wasn't so clearly mine after all".
However, he also said that he did not expect any of the claimants, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan to "push it to the brink".
"They have interests, they have claims, they would want to maintain them, but nobody wants to go to war," he told the officials, The Straits Times reported.
On July 12, an international tribunal ruling rejected China's vast claims in the South China Sea and said that those claims have no legal basis. But China refused to accept or recognise the tribunal's decision.