Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬), the wife of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, has canceled a campaigning trip to Singapore after the Singaporean government said it did not permit “foreign political activities.”
Singapore has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it does have close informal ties, including militarily.
It was also the site in 2015 for a landmark meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Lee had been due in Singapore this week to stump for support for her husband ahead of the Jan. 11 elections.
Media in Singapore estimate that there are about 50,000 Taiwanese living in the city-state.
The KMT yesterday said Lee’s trip had been called off altogether, having already said on Monday that it had canceled what would have been a rare high-profile overseas election event, after Singapore’s government had expressed concern about security.
The Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responding to what it called questions “regarding reports on the cancelation of a visit to Singapore by the spouse of a politician from Taiwan,” said that foreign political activities are not allowed.
“The government does not permit the conduct of foreign political activities, including campaigning and fundraising, in Singapore,” the ministry said in a statement. “We have consistently maintained the same policy for all parties.”
“We expect all residents and visitors to respect and abide by our laws,” it added.
However, other countries in the region that also have large Taiwanese business communities have welcomed Lee, including Cambodia, a close Chinese ally that does not even permit Taiwan to have a representative office there.
Lee has also been to Vietnam and Japan to drum up support, and is now in Malaysia.
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