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Singapore Accuses Beijing Media of Fabricating Story on South China Sea

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Singapore’s ambassador to China has accused the Global Times, a major Chinese news outlet, of publishing an article containing falsehoods. China, however, insists the article is reporting the truth.

On September 18, the 17th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, an organization created in 1961 in opposition to NATO and the former Warsaw Pact, ended. As the organization finalized its Declaration of Margarita Island, a wrap-up document detailing plans for the organization's next three years, the Singaporean delegation reportedly raised the issue of territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The request to include the issue within the document was said to have been denied by Venezuela, the current president of the organization, a move that, according to the Global Times, "infuriated" the Singaporean delegation. The Chinese paper claimed they were citing a "reliable source," who was in attendance at the summit.

This claim that has been firmly denied by the Singaporean ambassador to China, Stanley Loh.

According to Loh, the Global Times article is an "irresponsible report replete with fabrications and unfounded allegations with no regard for the facts."

"Contrary to the claim fabricated by the Global Times, the Singapore delegation did not raise the South China Sea or the tribunal ruling at the NAM Summit," he said, in a formal letter to Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, posted to the Singaporean Foreign Ministry website.

According to the letter, Singapore "intervened to support the common position of ASEAN," of which Singapore is a member.

"Only a very small number of NAM Members outside Southeast Asia raised objections to ASEAN's updates at the NAM Senior Officials' Meeting at Margarita Island," the letter states.

Global Times editor Hu, however, refused to accept the ambassador's objections, stating in the paper's blog that he stood by the story, adding that its source was "serious and reliable" and the report accurate.

This was followed by a Chinese Foreign Ministry official statement from ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.

"The facts are clear. Individual countries insisted on highlighting the South China Sea-related contents in the outcome document, but failed to do so, because they did not secure the approval of the majority of NAM members and these contents did not represent the consensus of parties related to the South China Sea issue," Geng said.

The two countries continue to trade accusation and allegation. Regardless of whether Singapore, if indeed it made the request that the Chinese media outlet claims it did, acted on behalf of ASEAN or out of its own interest, as well as whether it was "many" or "some" countries that objected to the inclusion of the South China Sea issue; Singapore, according to the Chinese version of events, failed to win the sympathies of the majority of the delegations.

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Tags:
media, report, fabrication, NAM Summit 2016 in Venezuela, Global Times, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), ASEAN, Hu Xijin, Geng Shuang, Stanley Loh, South China Sea, China, Singapore, Venezuela
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