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Singapore to back China in Taiwan conflict

By United Press International   |   Aug. 22, 2004 at 9:09 PM   |   Comments

SINGAPORE, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said commitment Singapore would back China in a conflict provoked by Taiwan.

Speaking during his first National Day Rally speech on Sunday, Lee says "If a war breaks out across the straits, we will be forced to choose between the two sides. As a friend of both sides, any decision will be painful. But if the conflict is provoked by Taiwan, then Singapore cannot support Taiwan."

He also said "A move towards independence is not in Singapore's interest. Neither is it in the region's interest. If Taiwan goes for independence, Singapore will not recognise it. In fact, no Asian country will recognise it. Nor will European countries."

"I regret that my visit to Taiwan caused this severe reaction from China, which affected relations. I also regret the way the Taiwanese media chose to play up my private and unofficial visit," he said.

He said he had visited Taiwan in July to understand the thinking of his Taiwanese friends and contacts.

© 2004 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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