Cambodia reiterates stance over South China Sea ahead of summit

Phnom Penh, Feb 5 (IANS) Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday reiterated the country’s stance over the issue of South China Sea ahead of the US-ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Summit.

The premier confirmed that he will attend the forthcoming summit running from February 15-16 in Sunnylands, California, Xinhua news agency reported.
“I spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry (during a meeting last week) that for the South China Sea issue, we should not take gasoline to douse on fire, but try to encourage the countries concerned in the dispute to continue negotiations with each other because ASEAN has no rights to measure land for any sides,” he said.
“Vietnam and China should negotiate with each other; China and the Philippines should negotiate with each other,” he said.
The premier gave an example of the negotiations of border issues between Cambodia and its neighbouring countries, including Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, which have been made through bilateral mechanism.
Meanwhile, Hun Sen rejected the allegations by some critics and analysts that Cambodia sided with China in the issue of South China Sea.
“I would like to assert that Cambodia’s foreign policy is independent,” he said.
He said the forthcoming US-ASEAN Summit would touch on the issues of security, climate change, natural disasters, epidemic diseases, and anti-terrorism.