Singapore's ambassador to China has accused a Chinese state-run newspaper of fabricating an article about Singapore's position on the South China Sea.
On 21 September, the Global Times printed that a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Venezuela saw Singapore raise issues surrounding the South China Sea dispute and The Hague's ruling against Chinese claims over it. According to the Global Times, Singapore's attempt to raise the issue was blocked by opposition from "many" countries.
Stanley Loh, Singapore's ambassador in Beijing, has since written a letter to the Global Times' editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, in protest against the article. Loh stated that the words attributed to Singapore in the article were "false and unfounded".
"Contrary to the claim fabricated by the Global Times, Singapore's delegation did not raise the South China Sea or the tribunal ruling at the NAM Summit." Loh said, according to Reuters. "We are disappointed that an established newspaper published this irresponsible report replete with fabrications and unfounded allegations with no regard for the facts."
However, Xijin has stood by the article and insisted that its source for the information was "serious and reliable". The Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily and is often seen as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government.
Although Singapore is not directly involved in the South China Sea dispute, it has sided with the Philippines and Vietnam. It has previously also allowed US air force jets to be based in Singapore.
China's Foreign Ministry has not commented on the alleged "fabricated" article in the Global Times, however, a spokesperson said that it had "noted" the situation. China claims most of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, which also host roughly $5tn (£3.9bn) in ship-borne trade annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have also claimed parts of the South China Sea.
Tensions have been rising in the region following The Hague's ruling against China in July, which noted that it has "no legal basis" to claim resources in the disputed waters. China has refused to recognise the ruling and has been increasing military activity in the region, alongside issuing a warning to their military, police and public to prepare for a "people's war at sea".