Former Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC, Inderjit Singh, has criticised China’s Belt and Road Forum snub of Singapore. Twenty-nine national leaders and representatives of 28 other countries attended the Forum on rebuilding China’s ancient Silk Road trade route through a network of new ports, railways and roads. Singapore’s Minister of National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, represented the Republic in the meeting and said that the invitations were decided by China.
According to Bloomberg however, the Singapore Government had sought a “formal invitation” from China for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to attend the Forum in Beijing, but the Chinese declined to extend such an invitation.
Criticising China’s decision, Mr Singh asked if the snub showed “China’s ‘smallness'”. Mr Singh cautioned that the “rest of the world is watching”, and that “if China can do all the things they have done to Singapore, a friend of 50 years, the rest of the world should be weary of China.”
Mr Singh was a key member of Ang Mo Kio constituency in which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the anchor-Minister. Mr Singh was first elected in 1984 and stepped down in the 2015 General Election.
While three other ASEAN countries heads of government did not attend the Beijing meeting as well, the absence of Lee has focused questions on the relationship between the Republic and the Government of Xi Jinping.
A Bloomberg report on Friday said that “China views Singapore as being less supportive of Xi’s plan because unlike other countries that announced their leaders would attend without requiring a formal invitation, Singapore sought an invite, according to people familiar with the matter.”