What does this mean to Singapore? If Singapore wants to abide by the One China policy, Singapore would henceforth have to terminate all training and official contacts with Taiwan. This is indeed 伤脑筋。It is not easy to dismantle the training facilities and equipment in Taiwan and to relocate them elsewhere if Singapore is to abide by this One China Policy requirement. Singapore has converted every bit of land into housing estates and nothing is left for the military and to conduct their training. Singapore is now beholden to countries that could offer us land for military training and to house our military hardware and soldiers.
With the land constraint, a self inflicted wound for wanting to grow the population recklessly, would Singapore play it tough and take a diplomatic U turn by not recognizing the One China policy to keep its training facilities in Taiwan? But by doing so it would have to cut diplomatic relations with China which means all official contacts and govt to govt businesses in China would be terminated except people to people or non govt businesses.
China is giving Singapore a choice, an ultimatum. Singapore would have to decide which way to go. It can’t have the cake and eat it this time unless it can come up with a legal interpretation that Singapore did not violate the One China policy by having military training facilities in Taiwan and official relations with the Taiwanese govt. The legal expertise of Shanmugam would be very handy in this case. How about the one who interpreted that inside the centre is not within 200 metres from the centre? Or maybe can go to the Tribunal at The Hague for an interpretation that is legal and binding. If The Hague can call an island as big as Taiping a coral reef, I am sure they would know how to interpret the One China policy to favour Singapore. And once again Singapore can tell China to abide by the international ruling of the court that is UN backed and legal and binding.
Another way out is to quote the USA. The USA also recognizes the One China policy but has a defence agreement to defend Taiwan. This American fork tongue behavior is also called American Exceptionalism. Could Singapore use this exception to justify its use of training facilities in Taiwan? Can Singapore also call itself an exceptional country like the Americans and can do anything it wants?
This new development would need a Uniquely Singapore solution but not sure if it works in the context of international relations and whether China would lamely accept such an interpretation and situation.
How is Singapore going to wrangle itself out of this conundrum? Would Vivian with the help of Shanmugam, come up on top and dismiss the Chinese protest or representation as baseless and life goes on as normal, with SAF training unaffected in Taiwan?
The bottom line, Singapore must now choose between China or Taiwan. Take it or leave it, no buts.