Forum: Defence ties with China a step in right direction

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen shakes hands with the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission General (GEN) Xu Qiliang on Oct 21, 2019, in Beijing.
Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen shakes hands with the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission General (GEN) Xu Qiliang on Oct 21, 2019, in Beijing. PHOTO: MINDEF

The upscaling of Singapore-China defence ties is a step in the right direction (Singapore, China ministers ink upgraded defence pact, Oct 21).

China may sometimes appear to be unreasonable in its territorial claims. Despite that, China is, by and large, a reasonable country.

I am confident of China developing into a model superpower after some difficult adjustments in the present geopolitical rivalry with the United States. China might even become a well-liked nation.

However, difficult adjustments are needed.

Not all our soldiers speak Mandarin. How are those who did not study Chinese in school going to communicate with Chinese soldiers during joint exercises?

Military cooperation between the US and Singapore has been going on for a long time, while defence ties with China are more recent.

I look forward to the day when trust between China and Singapore grows so that military ties can be further upgraded to the same level as our country's ties with the US.

Most of all, I hope that US-China relations will one day be cordial too.

I am confident of China developing into a model superpower after some difficult adjustments in the present geopolitical rivalry with the United States. China might even become a well-liked nation.

Phillip Tan Fong Lip

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Defence ties with China a step in right direction'. Print Edition | Subscribe