Standing in solidarity. (Photo credit: Business Times)
Over the past few weeks and especially over the course of yesterday, much has been said about Terrex and how Singapore and China has been handling the situation.
In Parliament yesterday (9 Jan 2017), Members of Parliament debated about the issue. Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in response to a number of questions that it is important for Singapore “to conduct its foreign policy as a sovereign independent nation, and not be seen as acting at the behest of any other country.”
Workers’ Party’s Low Thia Khiang raised a question on whether China’s economic progress has led to it becoming a “big bully”.
In short, Minister Vivian’s answer was that a strong China is beneficial to the rest of the world, yet Singapore will have to “courteously, respectfully differ and remind everyone , big or small – please let Singapore be Singapore.”
In ending his answer to Mr Low , Minister Vivian called on all members of the House – whether from opposition, NCMPs or NMPs to stand with the government on its foreign policy strategy.
Indeed, now is the time for Singaporeans to unite behind the government in its efforts to bring back our Terrex vehicles but also in making a stand in our foreign policy.
Like what Minister Vivian said, this is the occasion to learn the right lessons and “to stand together because ultimately, foreign policy begins at home.”
What does it mean for us? It just means that we don’t politicise the matter or take sides, but stand together as Singaporeans behind the government on our foreign policy.
If there’s any way that we as Singaporeans can help the government, it is by rallying behind them and showing our support for our foreign policy as a sovereign independent nation.
Obviously, this incident does not tarnish our international credibility and standing as a nation to our partners and friends around the world.