Singapore — Not everyone was pleased with certain remarks the United States Vice President Kamala Harris made against Beijing in this week’s visit to Singapore, including former Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng, who posted sarcastically on Facebook on Tuesday (Aug 24), “Great friend to have!”
Mr Cheng wrote, “Knowing that Singapore is struggling as a small nation to stay neutral, US Vice President decides to hit out at China whilst in Singapore.”
He also posted a link to a report from BBC News entitled “US VP Kamala Harris criticises Beijing intimidation in South China Sea.”
Ms Harris, who is currently on a South-East Asian tour, arrived in Singapore on Sunday and left for Vietnam late Tuesday (Aug 24).
Her trip is widely perceived to underline the US’ commitment to Asia.
The US Vice President gave a major foreign policy speech on Tuesday, addressing the vision of President Joseph Biden’s administration for the region, and had some sharp words for Beijing.
Tensions between the two largest economies in the world started a few years ago over trade issues.
“We know that Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea.
Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations,” the US Vice President said.
Ms Harris affirmed that the US would “stand with our allies in the face of threats”.
She called China’s claims “unlawful” and added that they had been “rejected by the 2016 arbitral tribunal decision.”
A number of commenters agreed with the former Nominated MP, with one calling Ms Harris words “very unbecoming of a friend and a leader.”
Another netizen said that the US is not to be trusted, especially given the recent events in Afghanistan.
However, others believe that it’s in Singapore’s best interests to side with the US.
Some netizens argued that China would have done the same.
One netizen asked Mr Cheng to reassess his “need of (sic) friendship” in light of China’s actions toward Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Mr Cheng has made his views, which are in favour of China, very clear in social media posts in the past.
Last year, he wrote that “China is now the safest place to be in,” because of China’s advanced technology in tracking and tracing its citizens. He also praised how China has the ability to “lock down clusters and even cities,” which “no country other than perhaps Vietnam and North Korea can do.” /TISG
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