US naval commander; Straits Times

Singapore is now in trouble with China after a US military commander told the vessel island state that it is sending two littoral combat warships to Singapore. The two warships will be patrolling the South China Sea, and specifically targeting China naval vessels.

Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Philip Davidson, singled out China, calling them a “hazard” and saying the two new warships is to deter Chinese military forces in South East Asia:

“The US has observed an increase in Chinese naval activities, ships and submarines in the past year. I think it’s a hazard to the trade flows, the commercial activity, the financial information that flow from the cables under the South China Sea, writ large.”

The American military officer however insisted that the increased US military presence in Singapore is to maintain “stability”, and even claimed that he is not making South East Asian countries pick a side:

“We welcome China in the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and (we’re) absolutely focused on the idea of Asean unity as the stability that this region needs. We’re not seeking to drive divergences within Asean and make them choose between us and China.”

Just last week (Mar 3), Singapore signed a contract allowing the US military free access to its facilities – essentially signing away Singapore’s sovereignty to the United States. The Singapore government has also earlier promised to purchase 12 F-35 fighter planes from the US, costing an estimated total S$15 billion. The Singapore government reported a S$3.48 billion deficit for the financial year of 2019.