Many S’poreans were annoyed with the Chinese for seizing our military vehicles. But are more savvy (or lazy?) than to KPKB in the streets (illegal anyway) or online. This can be seen in the parodies chiding China for being-minded.
But there is a sense among S’poreans that the PAP administration has been making missteps recently in handling international relations with China.
These missteps were probably due to a mixture of
— bad luck (APL not doing the proper paperwork despite being staffed by S’poreans. It was part of NOL and the retrenchments have not yet materialised now that NOL is no longer a TLC);
— diplomacy based on Hard Truths.
The Hard Truths applicable here are that
— so long as S’pore mouths the “one China” policy, China would keep a blind eye to our military ties with Taiwan forged in the days when Taiwan was a one-party state ruled by the KMT who also believed in “one China” because they considered themselves the legitimate rulers of China; and
— S’pore could be US’s regional cheer-leader and military base without upsetting China.
LHL’s administration certainly didn’t expect Trump to win and was betting on Crooked, Lying Clinton winning.
I suspect our strong statements on the South China Sea may also have been made in the hope of Lying, Crooked Clinton changing her mind again on TTP happen. If this is so, then this was a miscalculation, albeit with 20/20 hindsight.
Unfortunately an assertive China, a Taiwan ruled by the DPP that refuses to accept that it is part of China (a view that mirrors the view of held by more and more ordinary Taiwanese that Taiwan is not part of China), a pak PRC US administration, and the rise of gblobal protectionism mean that we are conducting diplomacy as laid down in Hard Truths in a world where the Hard Truths are irrelevant.
Even more unfortunate, MFA doesn’t seem not to know when not to follow the manual. This is not surprising as the present lot “inherited the diplomatic playbook from the old guard and were probably selected to be maintainers of what was built, as less of rock-the-boat innovators” as someone oh FB put it.