Author Topic: ASEAN deadlocked on South China Sea, Cambodia blocks statement  (Read 303 times)

adroth

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ASEAN deadlocked on South China Sea, Cambodia blocks statement
Manuel Mogato, Michael Martina, Ben Blanchard

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-ruling-asean-idUSKCN1050F6?

VIENTIANE (Reuters) - Southeast Asian nations failed to agree on maritime disputes in the South China Sea on Sunday after Cambodia blocked any mention to an international court ruling against Beijing in their statement, diplomats said.

Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met for the first time since the Permanent Court of Arbitration handed an emphatic legal victory to the Philippines in the dispute this month.

The ruling by the court in The Hague denied China’s sweeping claims in the strategic seaway, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

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The Philippines and Vietnam both wanted the communique issued by ASEAN foreign ministers after their meeting to refer to the ruling and the need to respect international law, ASEAN diplomats said. Their foreign ministers both discussed the ruling with ASEAN counterparts in the Laotian capital.

But before the meeting, China’s closest ASEAN ally Cambodia opposed the proposed wording, throwing the group into disarray. Phnom Penh supports Beijing’s opposition to any ASEAN stand on the South China Sea, and its preference for dealing with the disputed claims on a bilateral basis.

FIRST DEADLOCK SINCE 2012

“We are still working on it,” Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told Reuters after the meeting on Sunday, adding that she hoped the ASEAN members would reach an agreement.

Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon declined to comment on his country’s position on Sunday.

Even after a late-night meeting of foreign ministers called to thrash out the issue late on Saturday, the region’s top diplomats were unable to find a compromise.

The group has given itself until Tuesday to come to issue a statement, said one ASEAN diplomat.

ASEAN is facing the prospect of being unable to issue a statement after a meeting for only the second time in its 49-year history. The first time, in 2012, was also due to Cambodia’s resistance to language about the South China Sea.

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adroth

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Re: ASEAN deadlocked on South China Sea, Cambodia blocks statement
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 07:58:05 AM »
Why Cambodia is so cozy with China


China gives Cambodia aid and thanks for ASEAN help
Reuters Staff

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cambodia-china/china-gives-cambodia-aid-and-thanks-for-asean-help-idUSBRE88306I20120904

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - China has pledged more than $500 million in soft loans and grants to Cambodia and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao thanked it for helping Beijing maintain good relations with the regional grouping ASEAN, a Cambodian junior minister said.

A summit of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July failed to issue a joint communique for the first time in the group’s 45-year history after disagreement over the wording of a section on territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Cambodia, which chairs ASEAN meetings this year, was accused by some countries in the group of stonewalling in support of its ally, China.

The South China Sea has become Asia’s biggest potential military flashpoint. China’s claim over the huge area has in particular set it against ASEAN members Vietnam and the Philippines.

Four loan agreements for unspecified projects worth about $420 million were signed when Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited China over the weekend, Secretary of State for Finance Aun Porn Moniroth told a briefing late on Monday.

Another three loan agreements, worth more than $80 million, are expected to be signed this year, Aun Porn Moniroth said, adding that Wen had also promised a grant of 150 million yuan ($24 million) as “a gift” for Cambodia to use on any priority project.

“The Chinese government also voiced high appreciation for the part played by Cambodia as the chair of ASEAN to maintain good cooperation between China and ASEAN,” Aun Porn Moniroth said.

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Chinese investment in Cambodia totaled $1.9 billion last year, more than double the combined investment by ASEAN countries and 10 times more than the United States, which is trying to extend its influence in the region.

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