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    Sep 29, 2016

    S'pore sends 2nd request for correction in Chinese newspaper

    SINGAPORE'S ambassador to China yesterday issued a second open letter to the Global Times in three days, insisting that the Chinese newspaper corrects a report that depicted Singapore as a troublemaker during the recent Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting held in Venezuela.

    By press time yesterday, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Global Times, did not reply to Stanley Loh's second letter.

    But Mr Hu had posted a letter online on Tuesday to rebut the envoy's first letter, saying that the tabloid's Sept 21 report was based on information from a "serious and reliable" source.

    The issue in question was whether Singapore had solely pushed the NAM to include in its final document the Philippines' position on the ruling passed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in July on Manila's disputes with China over islands in the South China Sea.

    The ruling, which China has refused to accept, concludes that Beijing has "no historical rights" over the region.

    In his second letter issued yesterday, Mr Loh reiterated that the request to update the portion on South-east Asia in the NAM document to reflect the most recent developments in South China Sea was made collectively by the 10 Asean countries, not just Singapore alone.

    The request was later rejected by the NAM chair.

    "I have related the facts and this account can be verified by the public record of the meeting," he wrote.

    Mr Loh also stated that Singapore has consistently adopted a clear and principled position on South China Sea and stressed that the positions of Singapore and China are not "identical" but also "not opposed".

    In his letter on Tuesday, Mr Hu remarked that Singapore was not neutral as it claimed on the South China Sea issue, showing favour to the Philippines and Vietnam and echoing the stance of the United States and Japan.

    "Very few countries promote the enforcement of the arbitration as actively as Singapore," he added.

    In his second letter, Mr Loh again called on the Global Times to publish his first letter issued on Monday in full.

    Without directly naming Singapore, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday that a "certain country" had tried to push its agenda at the NAM meeting.