‘Substantive, positive difference’: Analysts, insiders laud PM Lee for steering Singapore’s foreign policy amid complicated global environment

‘Substantive, positive difference’: Analysts, insiders laud PM Lee for steering Singapore's foreign policy amid complicated global environment

SIP, the initial lineup venture between the two governments, was established in 1994 to create a design professional town in China’s Jiangsu province. Local authorities had established a rival industrial park near a few years later as the partnership was losing money. Singapore does “bow out” of the project, according to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the time.

Mr. Chin was one of the people who argued that leaving SIP, which Jiang Zemin had described as” China’s most significant example of diplomatic financial assistance,” would be a “bad move.”

” If you pull out abruptly, you diminish it and that’s not good for the succeeding relationship”, Mr Chin said.

” The other point is, I thought it would not have us well in the world that, at the time, states perceived Singapore, and we really promoted ourselves as the gate to China,” I said.

There were issues to be resolved, but not by “going to the roads” – and Mr Lee agreed, recalled Mr Chin.

” He’s really opened- thinking”, said Mr Chin, who was Singapore’s adviser to China from 1998 to 2012. ” If you can create a circumstance, he’s prepared to take in contrary views”.

Mr Chin said he attended two sessions, one chaired by Mr Lee, who was then- DPM, and another chaired by Mr Goh with therefore- SM Lee Kuan Yew in enrollment.

” After the discussions, there was no more talk about withdrawal”, said Mr Chin.

Singapore instead negotiated a reduction in its development commitment and a change in shareholding in 1999, moving from 65 % to 35 %, to encourage the local government. During the period when both sides were negotiating, the Chinese even changed authority, according to Mr. Chin.

By 2001, SIP turned a profit and by 2003, had recouped all its costs.

” That was really the deepest feeling ( I have of working with Mr Lee )”, said the former adviser.


Mr. Lee referred to an “expansive environment” that was “fraught with political tension and economical uncertainty” at his final National Day Rally last year.

Singapore has “navigate properly in this increasingly worried landscape” but, “despite the black clouds, the world also offers countless opportunities for those who dare to acquire them”, he said.

According to experts, there are some areas and blocs that are growing in importance and may open up new markets for Singapore.

One is BRICS, a clustering founded by Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa became its second part, followed by Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates this time. ” BRICS is going to be a very important enhancement”, said Mr Chin.