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Under the Radar: Singapore latest to be punished by China’s opportunism

An increasingly opportunistic and edgy China is capitalizing on uncertainty surrounding America’s future in Asia under a Trump administration to punish its neighbours – from Mongolia to Taiwan to Singapore – for going against Chinese interests.

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Relations between Singapore and China are deteriorating as Beijing increases its assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region in general.

Singapore has run afoul of Beijing as China seeks to capitalize on the uncertainty regarding Washington’s plans for Asia going forward following the election of Donald Trump. Consequently, Beijing-linked media outlets have recently criticized the micro-state for its close ties to the U.S.

While Singapore’s stated goal is to maintain amicable relations with as many countries as possible, its security agreement with the United States, which sees the country play host to American naval and aerial assets, has become a thorn in Beijing’s side. While close ties with the U.S are nothing new – indeed the U.S navy has long used Singapore as a staging area for its patrols of the Strait of Malacca, recent events have caused Beijing to become increasingly sensitive.

Firstly, Singapore’s support of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which dismissed China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, combined with its call for ASEAN unity and a diplomatic framework on the issue has put the micro-state in Beijing’s cross-hairs. More pertinently, this past week has seen a concerted effort by China to send a clear message to Singapore. Current tensions surround the seizure of nine Singaporean armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in Hong Kong. These vehicles were returning from training exercises in Taiwan, yet Chinese authorities claimed that they were not listed in the ship’s manifest.

Heated war of words cooling relations

What makes this event noteworthy is that firstly, Hong Kong is a common port of call for foreign militaries, and secondly that Singapore has been conducting the aforementioned exercises with Taiwan since 1975, under the name Operation Starlight.

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Asean

Asean meeting to address Transboundary Haze Pollution (21st MSC)

The drier and warmer weather could lead to an escalation of hotspot activities and increase the risk of transboundary haze occurrence in the region. MSC countries pledged to remain vigilant and to monitor and step up their haze preventive efforts

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The Twenty-first Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution (21st MSC) was held on 6 August 2019 in Brunei Darussalam, and attended by Ministers/representatives responsible for the environment, for land, forest fires and haze, from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, and the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

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Asean

ASEAN inaugurates new Secretariat building to celebrate 52nd anniversary

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JAKARTA, 8 August 2019 – ASEAN inaugurated the new ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) building as it celebrated its 52nd anniversary today in Jakarta with a series of commemorative events involving the community, marking a new chapter in the organisation’s history.

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India

Thailand woos Southeast Asian tourists with shopping campaign

The programme called “Give Me Five” is set to increase shopping among tourists from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) along with Indonesia, Malaysia and India.

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched a new marketing campaign with the hope of luring 200,000 visitors from seven growing markets in Asia.

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