Staying friends with all powers works best for small nations


The People’s Republic of China flag and the US Stars and Stripes fly along Pennsylvania Avenue near the US Capitol, on Jan 18, 2011.

Singapore’s relations with China are in the spotlight, following a series of spats with the rising power. One writer calls on Singapore to be more understanding of China and step away from the embrace of the United States, while the other says Singapore is both pro-China and pro-US and should not change.

Singapore’s foreign policy has come under the microscope in the past year. The Republic was singled out by China for its forthright position on the South China Sea disputes. Last September, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) major-general said Singapore was “playing off” big countries (read: China and the United States) against each other, and proposed that China slap some form of sanctions on the Republic.

Not to be left out, the strident Global Times said Singapore had “fully embraced the Western world” and had displayed no brotherly affection towards Beijing. It called for Beijing to be tough on Singapore when it “crosses the line”.