Date
20 November 2017
Catherine West says a video being screened on a digital billboard in New York's Times Square shows her words out of context in relation to South China Sea disputes. Photos: Xinhua, YouTube
Catherine West says a video being screened on a digital billboard in New York's Times Square shows her words out of context in relation to South China Sea disputes. Photos: Xinhua, YouTube

British MP says her remarks shown out of context in China video

A British lawmaker has complained that a propaganda video being aired by Beijing in relation to South China Sea claims has misrepresented her comments by putting words out of context.

Catherine West, a Labour Party lawmaker in the UK, said she is “perplexed and concerned” as she has learnt that a video being run by China on a giant electronic screen in New York’s Times Square features her among the talking heads.

The remarks that she is seen making in the video, which suggest that West supports Beijing’s position on the way forward for resolving the South China Sea disputes, were twisted out of context, West said.

In the video, West is shown making these comments: ““I think talks are crucial. And that’s why we have to be careful that yes, we need to resolve something very locally, and have a grown-up approach to dialogue.”

The remarks appeared to support the stance of Beijing, which has said repeatedly that it wants maritime disputes to be resolved through bilateral negotiations between the concerned nations, and not through any international body.

In an emailed statement to foreign media late Wednesday night, West, who is Britain’s shadow foreign minister overseeing the Asia-Pacific Region, admitted that she uttered the words during a visit to Beijing in May, but said the remarks were put out of context in the video.

The video is “not a reflection of my record or views”, the British lawmaker said, adding she is “deeply concerned by this misrepresentation”.

West added that she had “consistently voiced concern over militarization of the South China Sea by China”.

She stressed that she had been in favor of an arbitration process at The Hague, as that represented an opportunity for the dispute to be “settled in a grown-up way”, Taiwan’s Liberty Times reported.

China began airing on July 23 a propaganda video in New York to make its case after a tribunal in The Hague rejected Beijing’s claims over the disputed South China Sea earlier this month.

The video, which is about 3-minutes long, will be played 120 times a day on the billboard in Times Square until Aug. 3, according to Chinese media.

Apart from West, the video features some other westerners who appear to line up on the side of Beijing.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on July 12 that China’s claims of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea have no legal basis and that Beijing had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights by building artificial islands and preventing fishing and oil exploration activities.

The video being aired in New York is believed to part of Beijing’s propaganda offensive in light of the adverse international court ruling.

Beijing bombards NY Times Square with video on South China Sea (July 27, 2016)

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TL/AC/RC

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