The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed a correction department to be ordered by the independent authority for foreign affairs, namely the Deputy Secretary for Communications, to issue a public correction to State news singapore for publishing false news about alleged cross-border travel by Singaporeans. Secretary Teoh linked the correction to the recent incidents in which tourists from Singapore were detained in Malaysia for using counterfeit passports. In a letter to the Singaporean Government, he had also raised Singapore's concerns with the Malaysian Government on the same matter. He has conveyed his doubts on the "practicality and credibility" of the State News Service (SMST) news portal. He had also expressed concern for the safety of tourists in the event that their identities and locations are misused by some citizens in breach of their privacy.
A SMST source told the Business Daily that the news portal had updated its site on March 9 with a story about the minister's meeting with Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang. According to the Business Daily, the minister was believed to have discussed bilateral cooperation, including trade and investment, during the meeting. However, when interviewed by a Chinese daily, Li said that Singapore was not a part of such talks. Later, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement on its website, saying that the minister had been invited to a meeting in China.
This brought a strong response from Chinese citizens on Chinese social networking sites. There were many remarks, criticisms, and questions posted on the SMST site as well as on various Chinese forums. Some Singaporeans commented on the site, saying that it was unreasonable for the Chinese not to have information about the talks between the two countries' officials. Others were more diplomatic in their view, saying that both sides should discuss matters in the open, without concealing any facts. However, there are others who view this as an opportunity for Singapore to bolster its ties with China, especially with the renewed effort to deepen and broaden economic ties.
The latest development is yet another piece of news that Singaporeans are talking about. Last week, Chinese State-owned airline, China Eastern Airlines, purchased a majority stake in Singapore's Sia airline. The airline will be operated by China Eastern's aviation group. Now, this company, one of the largest international airlines in the world, will have a major presence in one of the most crowded parts of the world. Sia currently flies to Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing and Tokyo.
The growing friendship between the two countries is also reflected in the number of foreigners who want to move to Singapore. On the website of Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB), an increasing number of foreign companies are registering office here. Many multinational companies have sent their representative to Singapore recently, to explore the market, set up an operations center and get expert advice on Singapore's corporate structure, business laws, and local culture. The E DB also said that the number of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Singapore has also increased, to $1.9 billion.
All these developments reflect the growing global importance of the country, as a leading economic power. It also reflects the seamless transition of Singapore from a modest country, with a low-income economy, to a modern, sophisticated and successful economy, highly dependent on its productive and innovative people. Today, the country is recognized as a key player in the global economy, not only for its location on the Southeast Asian Pacific but also for its status as the largest port in the world.