Singapore doesn't authorise transfer of arms to Myanmar: Foreign Ministry

Singapore does not authorise transfer of arms or "items with potential military application" to Myanmar, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said

Press Trust of India Singapore

Singapore does not authorise transfer of arms or "items with potential military application" to Myanmar, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said, rebutting a report which claimed it functions as a "strategic transit point" for items that "feed" the junta's weapon production.

The report, published by the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M) on Monday, also names India among several other countries which allegedly host companies supplying materials to a state-owned entity producing military weapons in Myanmar.

Singapore does not authorise transfer of arms or "items with potential military application" to Myanmar, the MFA said on Wednesday.

There is serious risk that such items may be used to inflict violence against unarmed civilians, an MFA spokesperson said.

According to the SAC-M report, Singapore functions as a "strategic transit point for potentially significant volumes of items", including raw materials, that "feed" the Myanmar military's weapon production.

Austria, France, China, India, Israel, Ukraine, Germany, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States are also identified in the report as hosting companies which supply materials to a Myanmar state-owned entity producing military weapons.

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Myanmar's army seized power in February 2021 and the country has been embroiled in violence between soldiers and anti-coup rebels ever since. More than 2,000 people have been killed in crackdowns on dissent, according to local monitoring groups.

The MFA said Singapore is looking into the contents of the report by SAC-M, which comprises independent experts and former United Nations (UN) officials.

"Preliminarily, we note that many of the assertions pertaining to Singapore relate to economic activities pre-dating the February 2021 military coup," a Channel News Asia report quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.

The MFA said it is "a matter of public record" that in June 2021 Singapore voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar.

"This is on top of our strict compliance with our international obligations on international arms sales and transfers, as well as UN sanctions and embargoes against any country," it added.

The SAC-M report claimed companies in Singapore are brokering deals and exporting items to either the Directorate of Defence Industries (DDI), a state-owned company producing military equipment for Myanmar, or associated civilian front companies.

The report also claimed weapons currently being produced at DDI factories include heavy machine guns "originally developed and manufactured" by Chartered Industries of Singapore, a company established in 1967 to manufacture ammunitions and later acquired by ST Kinetics.

"Although there is only sparse public information citing business activities between ST Kinetics and the DDI, a source has suggested that ST Kinetics still sells unspecified equipment to Myanmar through a dealer in Thailand," the SAC-M report stated.

The MFA, however, pointed out that Singapore submits reports on international arms transfers to the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA). These submissions are publicly available and show that Myanmar has not received such transfers from Singapore, it said.

It added that Singapore has a "robust" export control regime, with control lists updated regularly to align with international commitments and obligations as well as relevant non-proliferation regimes.

"We will not hesitate to take action against those who contravene our laws," the Channel New Asia report quoted the MFA as saying.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Jan 19 2023 | 7:18 AM IST

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