TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A commotion arose among Taiwanese media after China’s People’s Daily reported September 20 that Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said his government insists on the one-China principle and opposes the independence of Taiwan in a meeting with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing, but it appears to be once again unverified information that the Chinese state-run media conceived.
Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that according to the information issued by the Singaporean authorities, Lee said during the meeting with Xi that Singapore would follow the one-China principle on its own understanding. Lee did not, unlike the Chinese media later claimed, say he opposes Taiwan’s independence.
Lee made an official visit during September 19 to 21 to Beijing and Xiamen, during which he met four Chinese officials and party leaders, including Xi.
The visit was said to aim at patching up Sino-Singapore relations, as a series of incidents in the previous year had brought about some tension between the two countries, particularly Singapore’s stance on the South China Sea territorial disputes, and the retention by the Hong Kong authorities of several of Singapore’s military vehicles being shipped back from Taiwan.
While affirming that the relations between Singapore and China ”are in a good state" in front of the Singaporean media after he completed the visit on September 21, Lee added, “That there will be issues from time to time is to be expected. Partly, it’s because we are two different countries, and never will you see interests perfectly aligned.”
In response to the report made by the Chinese state media, Alex Huang (黃重諺), spokesperson of Taiwan’s Presidential Office, said the office had no comment on reports without verification.
Huang also responded to the rumor that Singapore would stop conducting military exercises in Taiwan, a cooperation project commenced in 1975, due to pressures from Beijing, by saying that “the Taiwanese government values its long-term and deep friendship with Singapore.”