S'pore's 'strong & deep' relationship with China not affected by congratulatory message to Taiwan president: Vivian

Engagements continue.

Sulaiman Daud | February 06, 2024, 04:21 PM



Representatives of the People's Republic of China did make demarches to the Singapore government following its congratulations to William Lai Ching-te for winning the Taiwan presidential election.

"Demarche" is a term referring to diplomatic statements.

However, Singapore's relationship with China has not been affected, said Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in a Parliamentary reply.

Vivian was responding to a question from Dennis Tan, Member of Parliament for Hougang.

Tan, who is from the Workers' Party, asked "whether the demarches made by China to Singapore in response to Singapore’s congratulatory message to Taiwan’s new President will affect (i) Singapore’s relationship with China and (ii) Singapore’s 'One China' policy."

MFA update

In response to Tan's question, Vivian said:

"Singapore was approached by the Chinese, and we reiterated our longstanding approach and 'One China' policy. Our strong and deep relations with China have not been affected, and our engagements with China have proceeded apace."

Messages back-and-forth

Following Lai's victory on Jan. 13, 2024, Singapore sent a message of congratulations. A foreign ministry spokesperson said:

"We welcome the successful conclusion of the elections and congratulate Dr William Lai and his party on their victory. Singapore shares a close and longstanding friendship with Taiwan and the Taiwanese people, and will continue to grow this relationship based on our 'One China' policy."

The spokesperson added that Singapore has consistently supported the peaceful development of cross-strait relations. Dialogue, building trust, and pursuing cooperation will be beneficial for both sides of the Strait.

The next day, China foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said it immediately made "solemn demarches" to Singapore over the message of congratulations.

Top photo via @MOFA_Taiwan/ X and MFA China