Cambodia does not have any new agreements regarding the East Sea issue with China, the country’s Secretary of State and Spokesman for the Council of Ministers, Phay Siphan, has said.
He made the statement on April 27 while answering Vietnam News Agency reporters’ questions about Chinese media quoting a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying that China had reached an agreement with Cambodia, Laos and Brunei that the parties directly concerned in the East Sea dispute should deal with China individually, rather than as a bloc.
The points of the agreement were that the dispute was between individual nations, rather than China and ASEAN as a whole; that those countries should be left to settle the dispute by themselves; that they should do so without use or threats of force; and that China and the ASEAN nations should cooperate to ensure peace in the East Sea.
Chinese press outlets, including China Central Television (CCTV), quoted the spokesperson on April 22, on the occasion of a visit to Cambodia by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi from April 21-22.
However, Phay Siphan stressed there has been no agreement or discussions relating to this issue, just a visit by a Chinese foreign minister.
He clarified his country’s stance that Cambodia wants the parties concerned to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, which was reached between China and the ASEAN nations in 2002, when Cambodia held the ASEAN chairmanship.
Cambodia wants the countries involved in the East Sea issue to resolve the dispute peacefully, and that all ASEAN countries should strive to expeditiously finalise a code of conduct in the waters, he added.
At a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi following a bilateral meeting on April 22, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon said Cambodia maintains a neutral stance on the East Sea problem and has always appealed to all sides involved to make efforts to solve the dispute through peaceful means.