‘Playing With Fire’: Chinese General Blasts Singapore for Role in S China Sea

China (Sputnik) – A Chinese general lashed out at Singapore for its alleged support for the Philippines in the legal clash with China over the disputed areas in the South China Sea, saying that Beijing must express its “discontent” with sanctions.

Jin Yinan, the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Major General, said in an interview with China National Radio (CNR) on Thursday that Singapore has been ramping up tensions in the south-east Asia which are damaging China’s national interests.

The statement comes in the wake of a report by the Chinese newspaper the Global Times that Singapore had pushed the issue of the South China Sea territorial dispute and backed Manila in the legal standoff with Beijing during the recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.

According to the report, the Singaporean delegation was “infuriated,” when Venezuela, the host of the event and the NAM’s current president, declined to include the issue of the disputed islands in the organization’s agenda.

After that Singapore’s ambassador to China Stanley Loh issued a disproof of the report, calling it an “irresponsible” fabrication that lacks factual basis.

“Contrary to the claim fabricated by the Global Times, the Singapore delegation did not raise the South China Sea or the tribunal ruling at the NAM Summit,” he said in a statement

Still, the Chinese paper didn’t step back on their reporting, insisting that their source was “serious and reliable.”

In Lin’s opinion, by pedaling the issue of territorial disputes, Singapore is deliberately fueling the standoff between China and the United States in the region.

“We understand [that Singapore] has to survive among big countries,” The South China Morning Post cited Jin as saying. “But now Singapore is not seeking balance among big countries – it is playing big countries off against each other… this is playing with fire.”

Singapore has been pushing the issue of the South China Sea for quite a long time, Lin went on. Last year, Singapore Prime Minster Lee Hsien Loong spent an hour at the Asia Security Summit to deliver a speech emphasizing the problem.

“There are so many topics about Asian security, including unbalanced development, pollution, environment, climate, terrorism, racial problems… But all the problems were ignored and the focus was just on China’s South China Sea disputes,” Jin said.

Moreover, the general said that it was Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew who advised the Obama Administration to “the rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific” as part of Washington’s “pivot to Asia.”

The Singapore’s latest move regarding the dispute issues should be taken seriously by Beijing and Singapore must “pay the price” for seriously damaging China’s interests,” Lin stressed.

“Since Singapore has gone thus far, we have got to do something, be it retaliation or sanction. We must express our discontent,” he stressed. “It’s inevitable for China to strike back at Singapore, and not just on the public opinion front.”

This report prepared by Sputnik News.