Singapore has always espoused mutual respect, fair dealings and open dialogues with countries, big and small, and is willing to pursue mutually beneficial objectives vis-a-vis cultural and technological exchanges and free trade.
Our approach is neither that of a small state nor a big state, but that of a sovereign state.
Singapore's display of firmness, fairness and openness when dealing with countries, big or small, is neither arrogant nor craven. This hallmark of our foreign policy has safeguarded Singapore's survival for 50 years.
The argument that Singapore's post-Lee Kuan Yew era requires a foreign policy that is a better reflection of her physical size is flawed and illogical.
Have we forgotten that we gained independence at a time when our founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was hardly known to the rest of the world, let alone respected as a political giant?
In fact, the world had serious doubts about Singapore's survival under Mr Lee's leadership.
Attempts by leaders of bigger countries in the early years of our independence to elbow Singapore into varying degrees of subjugation were not uncommon.
Our founding fathers' conduct of Singapore's international relations had ensured our standing as a sovereign state.
A small state nonetheless, Singapore's call for regional issues to be resolved based on international laws is a call from a sovereign state.
Without the commitment to adhere to international laws, the South China Sea region would be embroiled in an inferno of conflict and chaos in time to come. There would be no winners.
What was so wrong for Singapore to firmly reiterate this call to adhere to international laws?
While China might be openly or quietly displeased with this call, it recognises the need for regional peace and cooperation to continue expanding as an economic power.
Singapore's consistent stand is neither pro-United States nor anti-China but a call for regional peace and stability.
Yuen Kwong Chow