TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) said China is unlikely to suddenly launch an attack on Taiwan.
Speaking at a Bloomberg forum on Thursday, Lee said he does not think China takes the idea of a conflict with Taiwan lightly. “They have soldiers, sailors, and airmen that would advise them against an amphibious attack,” he said.
Lee also said that he does not believe China would attack Taiwan without provocation, but did not elaborate on what provocation might involve. “I believe if they are not provoked, if events don’t spin out of control, (they are not) going to wake up one day and find that they have decided to launch ‘D-Day’,” he said.
In addition to Taiwan, Lee said that South China Sea claims are another “flashpoint,” noting four ASEAN countries’ South China Sea claims that overlap with China's. He did not mention Taiwan’s South China Sea claim.
Lee said that the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam would seek to settle disagreements amongst themselves first, but would ultimately seek to settle with China, the “most muscular” of claimants.
“The South China Sea is important, but it is not the only thing at stake, and I really truly believe that none of them want to push it over the brink,” Lee said, with reference to the strong trade relationships between the claimants.
Lee said that the Southeast Asian countries with overlapping claims recognize the power imbalance at play in the South China Sea issue. “There is a very healthy sense of realism, and therefore, some restraints will be there,” he said.