At a media interview with Chinese state media Xin Hua, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for China to allow his involvement in the lucrative Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project. Stopping short of going down on his knees, the pro-US Singapore dictator said he is willing to make “modest contribution” to the BRI:
“Singapore is well-placed to make a modest contribution in this area. We hope to be able to play a constructive role in financial services, third-country investments and human resources development.”
Since 2013, China has made a total of 173 deals with 125 countries and 29 international organisations on the mega project. Yet, Singapore is not involved in a single deal despite self-professed ‘close ties’ with China by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
China stopped its US$11 billion BRI railway project at Malaysia, and refused to extend the high speed rail to Singapore. China has also in recent years been investing in Malaysia’s sea trade operations and building new ports to rival Singapore.
The moves come as no surprise as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been offending China with military support for the United States. Earlier in March this year, Lee Hsien Loong opened up its military bases to the US to establish a South East Asia presence to deter China vessels in the South China Sea.
Although China denies Lee Hsien Loong the BRI project, it assigns business development of the unimportant and rural Western China region to Singapore in 2015. Under the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative, the Singapore government has poured S$28 billion into the project, but there has been no news or projected returns to justify the spending.