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China complains to Singapore over armoured vehicles

AFP  |  Beijing 

has lodged a diplomatic protest with after a shipment of Singaporean military armoured vehicles being brought back from was seized in Hong Kong, Beijing's foreign ministry said today.

stated its opposition to "any form of official exchanges with Taiwan, including military exchanges and cooperation", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters, urging to "stick to the 'One China' principle".


is a self-ruling democracy but still sees it as part of its territory. Relations have grown increasingly tense since the island's new China-sceptic president Tsai Ing-wen took power in May.

The shipment of Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles and other Singaporean military equipment has been held in since last Wednesday due to a "request for routine inspections" by customs, Singapore's defence ministry said.

It added that the vehicles were used in overseas training exercises by the country's military. No ammunition was on board.

Media reports in and said the vehicles were on their way back from a training exercise in

and have a longstanding defence agreement signed in 1974, "Project Starlight", enabling Singaporean troops to train in alongside Taipei's forces. The city-state sends up to 15,000 troops a year to the island.

But it has in recent years explored closer military ties with China, conducting a joint exercise in 2014.

is semi-autonomous after being handed back by Britain to in 1997 and enjoys freedoms unseen on the mainland, but there are increasing fears over Beijing's interference.

A commentary in China's often-nationalist Global Times newspaper today said it was "no longer reasonable" for to maintain military exchanges with since it established formal diplomatic ties with in 1990.

"For quite some time, has been pretending to seek a balance between and the US, yet has been taking Washington's side in reality," it said.

It accused the city-state of "hypocrisy" and threatened punitive measures that would "profoundly impact Singapore's economy".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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