In March, China had a disagreement with the Philippines on whether it had donated accurate COVID-19 test kits. In April a Chinese newspaper complained Vietnam put China in an “embarrassing situation” by stopping flights between their nations to curb the virus. And Malaysia protested a Chinese ship appearing in the disputed South China Sea, some fearing Beijing acted while the world is busy with the pandemic. However in contrast to the march of diplomatic stumbles, there appears to be a relative bright spot for China in Southeast Asia: Singapore. The island nation has donated millions of dollars and supplies to China’s virus response, vowed to conduct joint vaccine research, and celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations. “Singapore stands in solidarity with China,” Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob said in a letter to her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, early in the pandemic. She said his “swift, decisive and comprehensive measures” would help “overcome COVID-19 with strength and fortitude.” Though Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has called it unhelpful for China and the U.S. to blame each other for the virus, researcher Sophie Boisseau du Rocher questions if Southeast Asia is willing to blame China, where the virus originated. … Read full this story
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