Full text of Ambassador Stanley Loh's letter to Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin, in response to an article by Global Times (Chinese) dated 21 September 2016/ 新加坡驻华大使罗家良先生致函《环球时报》总编辑胡锡进先生回应《环球时报》中文版于2016年9月21日所刊登的一篇报道

21 Sep 2016

Mr Hu Xijin                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


Global Times


Dear [Editor-in-Chief Hu,]



1        The Global Times (Chinese) article dated 21 September 2016 regarding the 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit attributed actions and words to Singapore which are false and unfounded.


2        Firstly, the proposal to update the Southeast Asia paragraphs in the NAM Final Document was not done at the last minute nor by any single ASEAN country. There was a common and united ASEAN position. It was a consensus position of all ten ASEAN members, based on agreed language from the Joint Communique of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting.  As the current ASEAN Chair, Laos conveyed the group’s common position through a formal letter to the former-NAM Chair Iran in July 2016. Subsequently, Iran circulated ASEAN’s updates to all NAM Members on 29 July 2016. 


3        Secondly, the NAM Chair refused ASEAN’s request to abide by the established practice in NAM for regional groupings to update the paragraphs of their respective regions in the NAM Final Document, without interference from non-regional NAM countries or external parties. If this important principle is not respected, any non-regional NAM member or external element could in future impose their views on any regional issue. This is not in the interests of the NAM and its members. The paragraphs on Southeast Asia, including those referring to the South China Sea, have been part of the NAM Final Document since 1992, and regularly updated based on the common position of the ASEAN countries.


4        Thirdly, 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.  Singapore adopted a principled position throughout and intervened to support the common position of ASEAN and defend NAM principles and established practices. Singapore believes that it is detrimental to the unity, impartiality and future of the NAM to allow NAM principles to be undermined.


5        The following additional facts clearly refute the allegations in the article:


       i.            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. However, substantive discussions were regrettably blocked.


     ii.            As Chairman of ASEAN, Laos protested on behalf of all ten ASEAN countries to the NAM Chair on its improper decision to reject ASEAN’s updates. Several other countries also objected to the breach of this well-established NAM principle.


  iii.            At the end of the 17th NAM Summit, Laos as Chair of ASEAN wrote to the Venezuelan Foreign Minister to put on record ASEAN’s collective reservation to a paragraph in the Southeast Asia section of the NAM Final Document that was not updated. The ASEAN Chair further requested that ASEAN’s proposed language be annexed to the NAM Final Document. A copy of the letter from Laos as Chair of ASEAN is attached.



6        We are disappointed that an established newspaper published this irresponsible report replete with fabrications and unfounded allegations with no regard for the facts.  I request that in the interest of professionalism, objectivity and transparency, Global Times publishes this letter in full in Chinese and English, so that your readers may be accurately informed, and the close friendship between our two countries will not be inadvertently affected. 



Singapore’s Ambassador

to the People’s Republic of China







尊敬的 [胡主编]:


1        《环球时报》中文版于2016年9月21日刊登的“不结盟运动首脑会新加坡妄提南海仲裁”一文中,有关新加坡在不结盟运动峰会上言行的内容是不符事实和毫无依据的。


2        首先,关于提议更改不结盟运动峰会最终文件中的东南亚段落一事,这不是临时决案或任何单一东盟国家主张的。这是东盟一致和共同的立场,也是东盟十国,根据第49届东盟外长会议联合公报,所达成的共识。2016年7月,老挝以东盟现任主席国的身份向前任不结盟运动峰会轮值主席国伊朗提交正式信函,阐明东盟的共同立场。2016年7月29日,伊朗将东盟提交的更新讯息转发给各不结盟运动成员国。


3        其次,峰会主席拒绝了东盟遵照不结盟运动的惯例,在不受非区域成员或外方干涉的情况下,更新其所在区域段落内容的要求。如果这项重要原则得不到尊重,那么今后任何非区域成员或外方将可随意把其看法强加予各区域的事务。这不符合不结盟运动及各成员国的利益。东南亚相关段落,包括涉及南海的内容,自1992年起就已纳入不结盟运动峰会的最终文件,并以东盟共识为基础,定期进行更新。


4        其三,与《环球时报》捏造的说词相反,新加坡代表团从未在此不结盟运动峰会上提及南海或仲裁结果。新加坡始终秉承着原则性立场,发言支持东盟的共同立场以及捍卫不结盟运动的原则和惯例。新加坡相信,若不结盟运动的原则被动摇,将不利于不结盟运动的团结、公正性和未来。


5        下列的事实也可清楚地反驳了文章不实的指控:


       i.            在玛格丽塔岛举行的不结盟运动高官会上,只有极少数非东南亚地区的不结盟运动成员国反对东盟提出的更新方案。然而,实质性的讨论却遗憾地遭到了阻止。



     ii.            针对不结盟运动主席国拒绝东盟提出的更新方案的不当决定,作为东盟主席国的老挝,代表东盟全体十国向该主席国提出了抗议。对于不结盟运动这项长久的原则遭到破坏,不少其他国家也表示了反对。



  iii.            第17届不结盟运动峰会结束时,作为东盟主席国,老挝向委内瑞拉外交部长致信,明确指出东盟对于不结盟运动最终文件中涉及东南亚部分的未被更新的段落,集体持保留意见。东盟主席国要求把东盟的更新提案,附在不结盟运动的最终文件, 作为一个附录。随此函附上东盟主席国老挝的信函复件。



6        我们对于一家主流媒体竟然刊登这篇罔顾事实、充斥着胡编乱造和无稽之谈的不负责任文章感到失望。以维护专业、客观和公正,我谨要求《环球时报》全文刊登此函的中英文版本,让读者可以了解事实,避免让新中两国之间的亲密友谊在无意中受到影响。









Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Peace Independence Democracy Unity Prosperity



18 September 2016

Isla Margarita, Venezuela

H.E. Delcy Rodriguez Gomez

Minister of Foreign Affairs

of the People’s Power for Foreign Affairs

of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela



I would like to extend my friendly greeting to Your Excellency, and on behalf of 10 ASEAN member States attending the XVII NAM Ministerial Meeting, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippine, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, have the honour to reiterate that the question of South China Sea is a matter of vital interest for peace stability, security and cooperation in South East Asia.  From the very beginning, ASEAN with a high respect to Venezuela Chair of XVII NAM Summit and with the strong aspiration to contribute to the success of this XVII NAM Summit, has been requesting extensive discussion and consultation with interested NAM members to reach an agreement on the issue.

Unfortunately our cooperative spirit and our constructive efforts have not been reciprocated. ASEAN, with a very deep regret and with the high respect to the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as the Chair of the XVII NAM Summit and to all distinguished NAM members, has to reiterate that ASEAN is not in a position to accept the paragraph relating to the South China Sea numbered 449 as reflected in the draft NAM Final Outcome Document received by member countries in the morning of 18 September 2016, as it does not reflect the current developments in the region. We would like to request the NAM Chair to put on record our reservation and incorporate in the NAM Final Outcome Document our reservation in the form of an Annex as follows:

“The Heads of State or Government reiterated the call to solve all sovereignty and territorial disputes in the South China Sea by peaceful means, without resorting to force and/or the threat to use force, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Charter of the United Nations. In this context, they urged all parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entiretyto build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence, to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities, and to work expeditiously for the early adoption of an effective Code of Conduct, which would help to promote international peace and stability in the region, with a view to creating a positive climate for the eventual resolution of all contentious issues, as mentioned in paragraph 2 of the Joint Commmunique of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane, Laos dated 24 July 2016. They expressed their hope that all parties concerned would refrain from any actions that may undermine peace, stability, trust and confidence in the region. The Heads of State or Government shared serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments in the South China Sea and took note of the concerns expressed by some ministers/leaders on the land reclamations and escalation of activities in the area, including the increased presence of military assets and the possibility of further militarization of outposts in the South China Sea, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region. They emphasized the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, including land reclamation that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea. They reaffirmed the importance of and their shared commitment to maintaining peace, security, stability, the freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea, as provided for by the universally recognized principles of international law. To this end, they welcomed the adoption of the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in July 2011 in Bali and the Joint Statement of the 15th ASEAN-China Summit on 10th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in November 2012 in Phnom Penh. The Heads of State or Government also welcomed the Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea on 25 July 2016 in Vientiane. They further welcomed the positive contribution of the consultations at ASEAN-China dialogues, and the regular exchange of views at relevant ASEAN-led fora, and encouraged their continuance. The Heads of State or Government welcomed the progress made on some of the Early Harvest Measures, which includes adopting a 24-hour MFA-to-MFA hotline for maritime emergencies. They noted the ASEAN-China 25th Anniversary Commemorative Summit on 7 September 2016 in Vientiane, the 17th Joint Working Group on the implementation of the DOC on 8 June 2016 and the 12th Senior Official’s Meeting on the implementation of the DOC on 9 June2016 in Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.”


Therefore, ASEAN expresses its reservation on paragraph 449 of the XVII NAM Final Outcome Document, and with your permission, kindly requests that its reservation and this letter be put on record and included as annex of the Final Outcome Document.


Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.



Kham-Inh Khitchadeth

                                                                                                                                     Director General

SOM and Ministerial Leader of  the Lao delegation





和平 独立 民主 团结 繁荣






















Kham-Inh Khitchadeth



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