Cambodia and Myanmar in Joint Stand on South China Sea Dispute

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The dispute in the South China Sea raised tension between China and Asean. Wiki Commons

Cambodia and Myanmar have reiterated their support for a peaceful solution to the territorial disputes involving China and several Asean countries in the South China Sea after a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar’s newly appointed ambassador to Cambodia.
The premier took to Facebook yesterday after meeting Ambassador Myint Soe, posting that both countries urged the claimant parties to resolve the matters peacefully.
“Cambodia and Myanmar completely support the negotiation for resolving the issue of the South China Sea peacefully by the claimants’ parties,” he wrote.
Nations such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, widely seen as China’s closest allies, have been staunchly opposed to interfering in the dispute.
Last month’s Asean summit saw the three countries allegedly derailing attempts by other Asean members to agree to issue a declaration in support of the upcoming ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in which the Philippines filed against China.
The arbitration comes after China built several military installations on a small group of islands hotly contested by both Indonesia and the Philippines.
The opposition to the joint statement follows a similar scuppering of a statement on the South China Sea when Cambodia chaired the Asean summit in 2012.
Mr. Hun Sen previously stated that the South China Sea issue is a dispute solely between the claimant nations and does not need a response by the Asean bloc as a whole, with many believing China’s economic influence over the Kingdom had been a key factor in Mr. Hun Sen blocking measures to oppose China’s actions in the sea.
Meanwhile, 147 civil society organizations and associations issued a joint statement supporting the prime minister’s position, according to a  press release, including the National Union Alliance Chambers of Cambodia.
“We altogether support the government’s position by not joining to issue any declaration to support the verdict of the Court of Arbitration in relation to the South China Sea issue,” the statement said.

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