China Rebukes Singapore for Congratulating Taiwan’s Election Victor

China Rebukes Singapore for Congratulating Taiwan’s Election Victor

Beijing has reminded Singapore of its “one-China” position on Taiwan in a rare show of public disapproval after the city-state congratulated Vice President Lai Ching-te and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party for its election win.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said that “China has immediately made solemn démarches to Singapore.” That’s the equivalent of a diplomatic reprimand.

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“Singaporean leaders stated on multiple occasions that the Taiwan question is ‘a deep red line’ for China,” Mao said on Monday. “China values this statement and hopes that Singapore will strictly abide by the one-China principle and uphold the overall friendly relations between China and Singapore with concrete actions.”

Read More: Taiwan’s Election Isn’t a Disaster for Xi Jinping—Unless He Makes It One

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately reply to an emailed request seeking comment. 

The Southeast Asian country, like most neighbors, has sought to balance deep ties with both China and the U.S. amid a growing geopolitical competition between the two. It has also been vocal in promoting further dialogue in cross-strait relations even though Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has downplayed the likelihood of an imminent conflict over Taiwan.

Singapore’s Foreign Ministry in its comments on Sunday touted a “close and longstanding friendship with Taiwan and the Taiwanese people,” as it had in years past, saying it would continue to foster ties based on its “One China” policy. “Singapore has consistently supported the peaceful development of cross-strait relations,” it said.

The one-China principle refers to the policy that there is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of it.

Beijing has yet to react to Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s well wishes to Lai. Taiwan has elected a politician seen as friendly to the U.S., and whom China has branded an “instigator of war.”

“We look forward to close collaboration, strengthening mutual interests, fostering peace, and ensuring prosperity for our peoples in the years ahead,” Marcos wrote Monday night on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Teresita Daza later explained it was the Philippine leader’s way of thanking Taiwan for hosting thousands of overseas Filipino workers, known as OFWs.

“The Philippines and Taiwan share mutual interests which include the welfare of nearly 200,000 OFWs in Taiwan,” Daza said. 

Tensions between China and the Philippines have been escalating over the South China Sea, with their ships clashing in contested waters. Marcos has also strengthened his country’s longstanding defense alliance with the U.S., giving the American military greater access to Philippine facilities including those near Taiwan.

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