China-ASEAN: ASEAN may stay divide on South China Sea dispute

China-ASEAN: ASEAN may stay divide on South China Sea dispute
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PHNOM PENH, June 20, (APP): China-ASEAN: ASEAN may stay divide on South China Sea dispute

 

Cambodian Premier Hun Sen lashed out Monday at claims his government had bowed to Chinese pressure to help scupper a joint statement by Southeast Asian nations on the South China Sea .

 

In an angry speech Hun Sen also accused an international court of political bias as it prepares to rule on a sea dispute between the Philippines and China.

 

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration is widely expected to rule against Beijing when it delivers its verdict in the coming weeks.

 

Last week a meeting of foreign ministers from China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Kunming ended in chaos and renewed allegations of regional bullying by Beijing .

 

The diplomatic fracas erupted when Malaysia released a joint statement from ASEAN members voicing "serious concerns" at land reclamation and other activities.

 

The strongly-worded statement did not name China but clearly referred to its extensive island-building.

 

But the statement was suddenly retracted for reasons that have yet to be fully explained.

 

The incident was seen as another example of ASEAN 's inability to present a united front to China as it ramps up its presence in the waterway.

 

Several news outlets have quoted ASEAN diplomatic sources as saying that Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar -- historically China's strongest regional allies -- were instrumental in scuppering the consensus statement.

Hun Sen described those claims as "unacceptable".

 

 

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