China lodges protest against Singapore over Taiwan troop carriers

28 November, 2016, 11:33 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • China lodges protest against Singapore over Taiwan troop carriers

"We call on Singapore to act in accordance with the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in handling the matter", Geng said. Furthermore, instead of employing the usual two or three customs officers, a whole team was despatched to search APL Qatar 041.

The vehicles, along with several firearms, were found inside 12 containers covered with blue and grey tarpaulins at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals during a routine inspection on Wednesday. Singapore has long maintained military ties with Taiwan, including annual training and a small contingent of troops.

It's reported APL staff are now working with Hong Kong officials to clear the shipment.

A statement from the ministry said it was a routine inspection by Hong Kong authorities: "Singapore authorities are providing relevant assistance to Hong Kong Customs and expect the shipment to return to Singapore expeditiously".

Arthur said the Singaporean army has been conducting the "Starlight Program" training in Taiwan for decades.

The seizure also comes amid Chinese displeasure over Singapore's approach to South China Sea territorial disputes. Officials on both sides have unusually traded barbs in public in recent months, including an accusation by Singapore's ambassador to China in September that a major state-run Chinese newspaper had fabricated a report about Singapore's position on the South China Sea. Singapore was never a military ally of the US, but has given the green light to US military forces' long-term presence at its Changi Naval Base as well as allowing US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft to operate out of its airbases. "These requirements have worked well and there have been no incidents of losses, theft or tampering over the years", said Mindef. Those armored vehicles have now been moved to a secure area with access control, Singapore's Ministry of Defense said.

A spokesman from Taiwan's defense ministry confirmed the vehicles did not belong to the island and denied involvement with the shipment.

MINDEF pointed a finger of blame at the APL shipping company, saying it was 'required to comply with all regulations including the declaration of transported equipment...' However, it does reflect complacency Singapore's part - should it not have recognised the risks in transporting military equipment from Taiwan via Chinese ports?

SDP asked if there is any particular reason that the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) thinks it is actually acceptable to ship Singapore's military equipment from Taiwan to Singapore via Hong Kong knowing fully the political tensions between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.


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