Trump will undermine Singapore's trade and defence interests, says China party mouthpiece

Trump's protectionist policies will impose heavier burdens on Singapore's economy, "which is already shrinking,"

Lunar new year sales dip in Singapore chinatown
A man pushes his bicycle with his dogs dressed in Lunar New Year costumes in Chinatown in Singapore February 5, 2016. Reuters

Singapore will bear the brunt of the isolationist and populist trade policy that US President-in waiting Donald Trump will adopt in office, leading Chinese newspaper Global Times said in a commentary. Noting that Singapore's is a highly trade reliant economy, the Communist party mouthpiece said Trump's decision to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a huge blow to Singapore.

"Singapore is already concerned about its future trade relations with the US even before Trump officially takes office. Heavily relying on free trade, Singapore has attached great importance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but it is regarded by Trump as a horrible deal that kills jobs of Americans," Global Times said.

Singapore's future economic and trade relations with the US will be shadowed by the death of the TPP, which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had personally pushed for, the commentary said.

Trump's trade protectionist policies will impose heavier burdens on Singapore's economy, "which is already shrinking," the editorial said, adding that the next four years will see extensive clashes between Singapore and the US on the trade front.

Coming in the backdrop of the confiscation of Singapore military's armoured vehicles in Hong Kong, which roiled ties between Singapore and China, the editorial said Trump was unlikely to pay much attention to Southeast Asia, and by extension, to Singapore, in defence matters.

"The future US-Singapore security and defense relationship should be analyzed from the following aspects - with the big picture of China's rise and Trump's pledges to strengthen maritime strength, whether the US will continue its strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region, whether Singapore will agree to have closer security ties with the US and bear more defense costs, and whether Trump will attach great importance to Southeast Asia like Barack Obama."