Vivian Balakrishnan calls out fake news that says he collapsed at UN summit

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan meeting Marshall Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs John Silk on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Saturday (Sept 23) shot down a fake news article that reported he had collapsed at the ongoing United Nations summit by posting a Facebook message saying he was "fine" in New York.

News site had published an online article headlined: "Breaking: Singapore's Minister of Foreign Affairs collapses, UN Summit 2017 cut short".

It said that he collapsed suddenly, a few minutes after a meeting commenced, and excused himself.

The false article also claimed that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Dr Balakrishnan was "in a critical condition".

Dr Balakrishnan took to Facebook to refute the fake news.

"I am fine in New York and looking forward to delivering my speech at the UN later today," he wrote. "Thank you all for your concern."

People commenting on Dr Balakrishnan's Facebook post expressed relief that the news of his collapse was not true.

The 56-year-old is in New York this week for the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

Among the people he has met were former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration Hugo Hans Siblesz.

This is not the first time has published fake news.

In June, it ran a report saying Singaporean comedian Hossan Leong had died in a car crash in Malaysia, prompting the 48-year-old to refute the claims.

That same month, it reported that United States President Donald Trump had cancelled a visa waiver programme for Singaporeans, which the US Embassy in Singapore rubbished.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.