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Foreign banks here told Singapore is not 'tilting' towards China in series of 'unusual' briefings: FT

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore  • 2 min read
Foreign banks here told Singapore is not 'tilting' towards China in series of 'unusual' briefings: FT
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Singapore's top political leadership has given international banks operating in this financial hub an "unusual series" of briefings on geopolitics, with the key message that the country can remain stable and neutral at a time of rising tension between China and the West, reported the Financial Times.

Topics raised at the briefings, held over the past six months, included not just US-China rivalry, but also conflict in the Middle East, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

The banks were also assured they will not face "unnecessary regulation" following a high-profile $3 billion money-laundering case involving a dozen or so ethnic Chinese, reported the FT. 

Approvals for setting up private banking accounts and family offices now take longer, following a busy boom over the past few years which swelled Singapore's total AUM to $4 trillion.

According to the FT, ministers who met the banking executives included the co-ordinating minister for national security Teo Chee Hean, a top public official; foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, trade and industry minister Gan Kim Yong and minister for home affairs K Shanmugam.

Ft, citing one of the attendees, said the US-China tensions “featured heavily” in the talks, and that Singapore tried to correct a “misperception” that it is tilting towards China. 

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“They were trying to explain that Singapore is not neutral but is friendly with both and chooses according to its own interests depending on the situation,” they said.

The Prime Minister's Office, in response to FT, noted that public officials have been regularly engaging with various groups, including banks and finance institutions all this while. 

“We engage on a variety of issues — not only on international developments but also economic and social issues . . . Participants appreciate the opportunity to engage with ministers and public officials."

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