Asean-China talks set for Cambodia

Cheang Sokha / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Chinese ambassador to Asean Xu Bo with Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn. Supplied

Cambodia will host the 20th Asean-China meeting aimed at boosting further discussions on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) which could lead to finalizing the framework of the Code of Conduct (COC).
The two-day meeting of the joint working group on the DOC will start today in Siem Reap province, according to a Foreign Affairs Ministry statement.
The announcement of the meeting was made following a meeting in Phnom Penh on Friday between Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and Chinese ambassador to Asean Xu Bu.
In the meeting Mr. Sokhonn praised China for assisting with Cambodia’s development and pushing for growth of the nation’s economy.
He also praised Cambodia’s efforts to protect the dialogue between Asean members and China to help keep the peace, stability, security and development in the region.
“He [Mr. Sokhonn] observed a major achievement where Asean and China approved many important documents…and the draft of the COC framework on the South China Sea which will conclude by mid-2017,” the statement read.
In response, Mr. Xu reaffirmed China’s commitment, in cooperation with Asean nations, to finalize the draft of the COC by the middle of this year.
“Both Foreign Minister and Mr. Xu Bu also discussed the general situation, issues challenging the region and international issues such as Islamic terrorism,” it added.
Cambodia has been accused of bias towards China over the South China Sea dispute, mostly with the Philippines and Vietnam. In 2012, Cambodia failed to issue a joint communique over the dispute and in return China has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and aid.
“For the dispute of territory in the South China Sea, His Excellency Senior Minister [Mr. Sokhonn] reiterated that it must be resolved by the parties themselves using international laws including the Law of the Sea.”            

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