My assessment on this is that China may have written off our FM. Beijing may have noted the forward role he played in regional proceedings in forging a so-called Asean position on the South China Sea issue. A position that some would add does not have the support of, say, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar. and the list could well go on now that Duterte’s Philippines, the lynchpin, has also exited the American camp.
A position steeped in sterile and static legalism but betrays an insufficient understanding of the evolving nature of power in international relations. A position so eloquently propounded that it cannot but win awards at high school debating contests, and perhaps earn the applause of the discredited judges of the Hague Tribunal.
Sadly, a position that contributes nothing to stability, not to mention enabling small Singapore to be friendly with as many countries as possible. Horror of horrors, a position that has resulted in China more angry at Singapore than the Philippines, when we have no claims of our own in the South China Sea.
How did we get ourselves in this mess?