Tuesday, 5 July 2016

What ifs: Questions, Speculations, what do you think?

What if a Chinese Naval or Coast Guard vessel suffered damage during an incident with Indonesian forces, and needed repairs and sought refuge in Singapore?

Should Singapore allow a Chinese military (or para-military) vessel dock in our ports for repairs?

a) Should we be concerned about spying (on our naval/military assets) by the "damaged" ship and crew? (Maybe, not really, but it is a pretext we can use for not granting docking permission.)

b) Should we be concerned with how Singapore would be seen by our neighbours? We would almost certainly be seen as being pro-Chinese, if not an outright vassal of the Chinese by some parties. (We of course would say that we are providing facilities for repairs as a matter of mercy, or on humanitarian grounds, and we are not taking sides in the issue. But of course this will not assuage the other parties.)

c) We have "docking agreements" with the US Navy. What if one of their ships (say a reconnaissance ship - is there such a thing?) wants to visit our ports while the damaged Chinese vessel is in port? What if the Chinese objects on the ground that the US is trying to spy on their naval asset (e.g. their armed Coast Guard vessels)? (We would almost certainly tell the Chinese that they are simply guests and have no right to make demands on us, and if they are not happy they can take their sinky ship and leave. Diplomatically of course.)

d) What if Indonesia warns Singapore not to allow the ship to dock?

e) What if Indonesia demands Singapore hands over the ship and crew for prosecution under Indonesian laws?

f) What if the Chinese Navy heads towards Singapore?

1 comment:

The said...

The answer is an unequivocal "yes". I think Singapore is on record as saying that its ports are open to all. Well, maybe not open to the Indonesia navy after that snub about naming two of their warships after the terrorists (or heroes) who bombed McDonald House during Konfrontasi.