Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will conclude meetings with Japanese officials in Tokyo today. Official dialogues
Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong will conclude meetings with Japanese officials in Tokyo today.
Official dialogues focused on maintaining Singapore’s good offices through strong economic cooperation. To this end, Minister Wong met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in addition to the ministers of finance and foreign affairs.
Wong’s trip came on the heels of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, and his state visit to Beijing. Acting as an impartial third-party, Singapore looks to be enriching its position by maintaining strong relations with China and its adversaries through economic cooperation.
Expect Minister Wong’s private conversations to strike a different tone than official correspondence. Although Singapore has maintained a neutral or favorable position with China, their recent actions in assisting China side-step international sanctions by selling them chip manufacturing hardware represents a worrying evolution in relations.
Japanese officials likely pressured Minister Wong to align with Japan and its allies on China to discourage disruptions in the South China Sea. Singapore’s livelihood likewise depends on the SCS’ free navigation; but, with Beijing also pressuring Singapore to abide, it is unlikely Minister Wong will be able to make the changes needed to maintain the current strength of Singaporean-Japanese relations.