24 Feb 2007

Spats with neighbours 'not big problems', says Singapore FM

Causing a military coup in Thailand is not a big problem, then what in the name of all that is holy would constitute a 'big problem' in George Yeo's land of 'lah-lah'?

The Nation

SINGAPORE - Singapore's ongoing diplomatic spats with neighbours Thailand and Indonesia "are not big problems" and relations overall remain good, Foreign Minister George Yeo said.

"Our foreign relations are on the whole very good. We have excellent relations with all our major partners, with the US, China, Japan, India, Europe and Australia," Yeo said in a speech to his parliamentary constituency late Friday.

"We have some problems with Thailand and Indonesia but they are not big problems. Generally speaking, our overall relations with Thailand and Indonesia remain good."

Bilateral ties with Thailand were strained when the family of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra sold a 49 percent stake in Thai telecom giant Shin Corp to Singapore's state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings in a tax-free deal in 2006.

The deal angered the Thai public and led to months of street protests which sparked the military coup that overthrew Thaksin in September.

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Agence France-Presse