Minister Vivian: We welcome China to bid for SG-KL High Speed Rail and recognize China’s experience and expertise


In a change of tune, Minister Vivian now welcomes Chinese companies to submit bids on the Singapore-KL High Speed Rail. This was reported by China Daily today (12 Jun).

In a written interview with China Daily, which is run by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CCP), Minister Vivian said Singapore “recognizes China’s experience and expertise” in high speed rail.

The international request for bids will be jointly put out by Singapore and Malaysia later this year, he said.

With regard to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Minister Vivian said Singapore is an “early and strong supporter”. This is despite the fact that China did not invite PM Lee to its recent Belt and Road forum while some 30 other heads of state were welcomed by China to the Beijing forum.

“Singapore will continue to support Chinese companies as more venture abroad,” he added.

On the South China Sea issue, the minister said the South China Sea situation “has been calm and there have been no major disruptions in the past year”, and the complicated issue “must be resolved by the claimant states themselves”.

Singapore’s support for America’s “pivot-to-Asia” policy?

It was not that long ago when actions by Singapore angered China particularly over the South China Sea issue. In a speech to Parliament last April, Minister Vivian explained his foreign ministry’s plans and policies.

Referring to China and its claims in South China Sea, he told Parliament that Singapore cannot accept that “might is right”. China has done extensive reclamation work, built runways and ports, and deployed significant military assets to the disputed waters, he said.

While some claimant states have also done similar activities, these “have not been on the same scale or pace as that conducted by China”. “What a major power does inevitably carries a far bigger signature. China, for its own reasons, has become more assertive in the East and South-east Asian regions,” he added.

Singapore, of course, is not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes between China and some of the SE Asia countries. Neither is the US. However, Singapore supports the American “pivot-to-Asia” policy aiming to curtail China’s influence in South China Sea.

China angered by Singapore’s actions in NAM summit?

Things came to a head in Sep last year when Global Times, owned by CCP, reported that Singapore wanted to include the Philippines’ position on an international arbitration ruling on claims to the South China Sea, during the international Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit held in Venezuela that month.

The Chinese foreign ministry later also joined in, blaming an unspecified “individual nation” for stirring up tensions over the South China Sea dispute by insisting on including South China Sea issues in the final document of the NAM summit.

Global Times reported that during the summit, the Singapore delegation tried to add to the summit’s final document, an endorsement of an international tribunal’s ruling on claims to the South China Sea. Citing unnamed sources who attended the NAM meetings, the report said Singapore delegation grew “exasperated” and responded with inappropriate remarks to other delegations opposed to including the endorsement.

“During and after the meeting of foreign ministers, Singapore continued to stir up problems and openly challenged the chair nation Venezuela’s ruling, which again drew clear opposition from many countries,” the report stated.

“To satisfy its own interests, Singapore had been pestering [other states] during negotiation and meetings. It dragged meetings into late night many times, which caused discontent among other countries.”

Later, Singapore’s ambassador to China, Stanley Loh, refuted the Global Times report in an open letter to the editor-in-chief of Global Times, saying the report “attributed actions and words to Singapore which are false and unfounded”.

Loh denied Singapore raising the South China Sea issue or the arbitration ruling at the summit. Rather, the proposal to update the NAM declaration’s Southeast Asia paragraphs, including those referring to the South China Sea, reflected the consensus position of all 10 Asean members, the ambassador said.

“We are disappointed that an established newspaper published this irresponsible report replete with fabrications and unfounded allegations with no regard for the facts,” Loh said.

Bickering between China’s Global Times and Ambassador Loh

In response to Loh, editor-in-chief of Global Times posted an open letter to the ambassador online, in which he insisted that the Global Times’ sources were “serious and reliable” and the report reflected the truth.

“As an ambassador based in China, you were probably not able to attend the meeting in Venezuela nor be a witness,” the editor-in-chief said. “Maybe your government asked you to say that.” He also expressed “disappointment” towards Singapore’s position in the South China Sea dispute.

“Look at how most Asean countries deal with the sensitive South China Sea ruling in a balanced way,” he wrote. “I think Singapore should feel ashamed when you tried to trip up China, your largest trading partner.”

The same day, Chinese foreign ministry told foreign media reporters that an “individual nation” had insisted on including South China Sea issues in the NAM final document.

“The facts are clear,” a foreign ministry spokesman said. “Some individual state(s) insisted to include one-sided content related to South China Sea in the final document, but it was not supported by most NAM member countries. China hopes related state(s) respect China’s position and the agreement reached with Asean countries.”

But Singapore was still not satisfied for losing an argument. Ambassador Loh retaliated back by reiterating that the Global Times report was inaccurate. “Global Times did not attend the meetings and had to rely on information from unnamed sources,” Loh said. “In contrast, Singapore is a member of NAM and had participated in all the proceedings at the Summit.”

But obviously, Loh may have forgotten that ASEAN countries like Laos and Cambodia are long time ally of China. Global Times might not have attended the NAM meetings but their long time pals did. Whatever you say or do in any Asean meetings, China will know immediately.

Loh is a Singapore government scholar who scored ‘A’s in exams. He used to be Press Secretary to Goh Chok Tong. In 2015, he was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Gold) by President Tony Tan. It’s not known if these scholars are savvy and “streetwise” enough to deal with the Chinese, who are obviously experts in political maneuvering and intrigue for thousands of years.



  1. Look every supplier based on track record, technology, price, warranty and maintenance. Would reserve my judgement until technical evaluation committees complete their professional evaluation. But remember : China took high speed train technology from Japan, France, Germany and Canada. Suggest readers conduct research for themselves. Also, China bribed many governments to get railway awards for face and pride. Suggest readers conduct research on Chinese railway projects for themselves. Don’t just take my word. Go and Google, Yahoo etc. Finally, know that there are Singaporeans who may never have detached their emotions from the past – perhaps there was a loss when we switched to English medium education, perhaps there was a loss when we are no longer that much clan based in our business dealings. Again, don’t just read what I write. Do your research.

  2. as usual indignant and arrogant. First act tough end up finally suck thumb and attempt bootlicking to make amends. A bunch of dumb ass governing the nation. Aren’t they entertaining to world audience?

    • As it should always be. Between neighbours, USA is miles away and their track record is bad. An arms seller stoking wars so they profit. In the name of US world order! There is only one universally recognised world order, the UN Charter and the ICJ courts. PCA is only an arbitration service renting ICJ premises. ICJ/UN says that clearly!

  3. Understand from some source, the Chinese deal seems serious, largely because of the OBOR which branches out into three routes from Bangkok, one going west to Yangon, one going north to Phnom Penh and one going east to HCMC and Hanoi before joining China. Interestingly the Bangkok to Phnom Penh leg, the shortest route to China, is likely to be Japanese. Considering the possibility of different systems from one section to another, this might involve the changing of train at Bangkok.

    • China is not much interested in a China world order, unlike USA. It knows conflicts, even fights in Asia not helpful for Asia’s economies. Just look at M East years of wars has made it much poorer. Only US weapons manufacturers benefits. Therefore, if Spore is not focussed on just US world order, China will adjust and talk trade too.

    • China is alright with anyone that does not keeps shouting US world order to them. China’s foreign policies is mostly trade and its few historical territorial issues like Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan, SCS and ECS. Those aside, it has no real interest in interferring in other countries’ political systems, unlike USA who likes to change governments that doesnt agree with them.

  4. Bloodly clown smile. Look like an idiot indeed. Disgrace to go to China. More like a begger to China looking for amend n sympathy. The Chinese will just f us aside.

  5. Well it take quite sometimes for the elite ruling party to realise China power in south east asis. Hope you guys can wake up and stop dreaming about US helping singapore.

    • Matter of time. Even Modi has to accept reality. Uncle Sam is usd20trillion in debt, printed usd5trillion just to stay afloat. If Spore gets isolated in the next years, it will eventually become obsolete. SEA neighbours all eager to extend another kick as the PAP keeps berating their competence. First good move from PAP.

  6. No wonder the Global Times (was It?) labeled SG as a double-headed snake. Now that there is no TPP, he is in Beijing “begging” to expedite the RCEP.

  7. Loh is what you call an educated “idiot”, scholar and “A”s notwithstanding. Glad Minister Vivian is making the right moves to appear more neutral, after looking like a stooge for the US.

  8. As a Foreign Minister, he is responsible for our relationship with other countries. How did our relationship with world’s upcoming number one ends up like what it is today? He’s totally responsible, no?

    • OBOR aside, Spore will decline if China continues its Spore last policy. Forget RMB trading and see all Chinese companies build up SEA ex Spore. When that happens, Msia companies may start gobbling Spore operations too. This is the right move, albeit a bit late and mending the last huge strategic error of joining US world order fights!

    • How Lian Chan LKY would smart enough to avoid a head on confrontration with China. He likely would stand on US side but avoided standing on a table to shout at China. Bootlicking? Some can accuse Spore of bootlicking the Americans too! All foreign policies will bootlick some and irritate others. The key is Spore’s long term peace and prosperity, not face!

  9. We can invest, if not wrong to the tune of $100 billions into China , while China can dump $20 billions for the stupid jungle island resort just few kilometers from our coast. Wtf

  10. Yes, welcome China to bid for SG-KL High Speed Rail. However, Singapore will decide which bid is best, all things considered and then award it to the successful bidder accordingly. Hopefully, this will calm the strained relationship with China. Given time and a friendlier approach it will. DOMESTICALLY, why is there no sight and sound from PM LHL about Operation Spectrum also known as The Marxist Conspiracy of 1987? It leaves NO DOUBT that the PAP is GUILTY of the flagitious or deeply criminal abuse of power. Typical of PAP tactics: Delay and let the heat cool down over any controversial issue and over time it will die a natural death. Time to stop this vile practice. Come clean, PM LHL. The PEOPLE must know the truth!

  11. Looking at some comments, there are users that have Western names and Chinese with Christian names, posting pro Chinese anti Singapore comments in every report with regards to China and / or Singapore. It’s so interesting that this is like what the Russians have done to US elections and suspiciously to Qatar.

  12. This Vivian tried to organise a front against China but eventually back down when he found he didn’t have support among asean members. What will China foreign minister wang yi think of him? I am sure he was seen as a snake and someone who can’t be trusted when he visited China to mend relations. So the China foreign minister straight tell him to support the OBOR initiative to improve ties, that’s what you should do to someone who is sneaky and can’t be trusted.

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