Sunday, January 15, 2017

TOTD: Terrex the Jialat Ministers

Thought of the Day -Terrex the Jialat Ministers

I believe many people may be wow or fooled by Defence Minister Ng's exclamation that it is "illegal" for HK to impound our Terrex by the argument of "sovereign rights" over these war vehicles but anyone with that bit of common sense will see through the fallacy of such naive and illogical argument.

First of all, HK Customs didn't even know who own these military vehicles when it first seized them. They were acting on their own law that any shipping companies which are doing transshipment should follow, regardless whether these are sovereign assets or not. Thus, there is no illegality in HK Customs' action but ironically, the one which has breached HK law is SAF and the shipping company, where both failed to make declarations and apply for proper permits.

Our Defence Minister has aggravated the situation by making such unfounded accusation. Instead of lowering the tension, he has instead heightened it! Imagine if you were the Chinese government or HK authorities, instead of having Singapore admitting that they have done wrong, you are being accused of acting illegally! How would you feel? Will you return the Terrex? It is no wonder that such irresponsible and untactful speech by our Defence Minister drew sharp retort and warning from China by saying, please watch what you are saying! Basically, the actual diplomatic message behind is, please stop talking cock!

So I guess our Defence Minister is not interested in getting back these Terrex at all but his only aim is to justify that he and his Ministry are not in the wrong!

If our Defence Minister is really interested in getting back the Terrex or at the very least, want to diffuse the tension, he should have put it in a more a tactful way.... let me teach this undeserving overpaid Minister how to talk skillfully....

"I believe it is a great misunderstanding between us and HK that resulted in the seizure of these military assets. There is a gross oversight on our part in working according to HK law but I believe we have sovereign ownership of these military assets, unlike any other cases of military transshipment. I hope that both sides could resolve these issues amicably...."

The above speech would convey the same message of sovereign rights but at the same time, give enough space for both sides to work out a resolution.

The second point is that having sovereign rights over these assets doesn't give you immunity from not abiding local law. For example, as Alex Au had agreed with me, if a country tried to send massive military weapons to a terrorist organization to carry out a war against another sovereign country, do you think your claim of sovereign ownership will work? This is a real life situation whereby the Americans or Saudi or other countries are sending arms to those terrorist groups in Syria!

The third point is, apparently this is more of a diplomatic issue rather than just a legal issue. But our undeserving overpaid Foreign Minister has instead tried to play it down by shifting the focus to legal issues! This will further agitate China and in the end, the problems may not be contained within this Terrex issue but may just escalate into some other issues later on. Please bear in mind that Singapore has over $100 billion investment in China!

It is apparent that China is not satisfied with our Minister's assurance of adherence to One China policy. However we cannot succumb to its demand of cutting all our ties with Taiwan. This will need, first, a show of commitment more than just reciting the mere mantra of One China policy. We need to add to that although we have military training in Taiwan but this is not a support of Taiwan's Independence movement. This is purely a move to meet our own military training needs. At no time will we support any Taiwanese attempt to declare independence from China, neither in diplomatic nor military terms. We are all for a peaceful progressive development of One China diplomacy which we have contributed in the past and will continue to support in the future.

By putting up such assurance and reminding China that we have been working and contributing towards the One China policy will in fact, subtly enhance our position that we need to maintain ties with Taiwan in order to continue to contribute towards this role.

Both our Defence and Foreign Ministers have failed badly, epic failure in fact, in handling this Terrex diplomatic crisis. Of course, the biggest culprit is our PM Lee who has ignored all well meaning warning from everyone including opposition of his dangerous diplomatic stunts against China.

While Singaporeans should stand up against big countries like China or US if they assert unreasonable demands, but we must also realize that all these could have been dissolved or avoided totally if we have more competent Ministers instead of these current undeserving and overpaid Ministers.

Goh Meng Seng

Supplementary input from a FB friend:

Fact

1) Ship manifest does not reflect armoured vehicles exist on ship. It is the same as smuggling, undeclared goods.

2) Military goods must have special permit to transit. Plus standard Export Control declaration, as required by international shipping law. Since there are no documents, means special permit not done. Export Control declaration not done.

Terrex armoured vehicle is being smuggled on the ship. Breaking Taiwan law, Sinkaland law, China law, HK law and international shipping law.

Could any white supporters please tell me which country would consider smuggling armoured vehicles without documents as legal ???

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