Since China’s “opening-up” in the late 1970s, Singapore has played a major role in enhancing China’s engagement with the world, especially in economic terms. This traditional relationship is well manifested in the third government-to-government (G–G) project under the BRI, which is known as the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI). The purpose of this paper is to address the following question: despite Singapore’s initial reluctance to agree on a third G–G project with China, why did Singapore eventually decide to join the CCI?Design/methodology/approachThis paper draws on archives of over 700 Chinese language media reports and over 400 English language media reports, as well as private interactions with scholars interested in Sino-Singapore relations and with both sides’ officials in charge of the CCI project.FindingsThe paper finds that it is the goal of connecting the region, along with the need to maintain Singapore’s relevance to China and the regional economy that led to Singapore’s participation in the third G–G project. This paper also uses this case to analyse the changes that are taking place in the bilateral economic relations.Originality/valueDespite wide media coverage, op-ed commentaries and respective government statements, there are a limited number of academic studies on the rationale of the third G–G project and contemporary Sino-Singapore relations in the literature. The scholarship has not addressed the rationale for Singapore’s changing attitude towards CCI and the manner in which the CCI has improved cooperation (or upgraded cooperation to a broader and regional level).
Asian Education and Development Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 23, 2020
Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative; Chongqing Connectivity Initiative; Sino-Singapore relations; Southern Transport Corridor