“If US-China relations grow tense, Singapore is going to be in a very difficult spot, because we regard both as our friends and do not want to have to choose between them,” Mr Lee Hsien Loong said at the People’s Action Party’s 34th party conference yesterday. Tensions between the two major world powers seemed to get tenser after his speech.

US president-elect Donald Trump is unapologetic about his conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and he has indicated this over a tweet.

The Chinese government has expressed unhappiness over Trump’s phone call with Tsai and lodged a complaint with the US and reiterated a commitment to seeking “reunification” with the island, which they consider a renegade province. The Chinese made this move after Trump defended his conversation with Tsai saying, “(it is) interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.” Since 2009 the Obama administration has approved US$14 billion dollars in arms sales to Taiwan.

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Mr Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, responded to Trump and said: “The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-US relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged.” Wang said that the contact was “just a small trick by Taiwan” which he believed would not change America’s policy towards China.

But Trump is unrepentant over the Taiwan president’s phone call and tweeted: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!”

The status of Taiwan has been one of the most sensitive issues in US-China relations.