PHNOM PENH(Kyodo) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday praised Cambodia’s position on the issue of South China Sea disputes involving China and four other Southwest Asian countries, while thanking it for “understanding and supporting” China.
Speaking to reporters after talks with Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn, Wang said they shared the view that claimants in the South China Sea should abide by the principles of peaceful solution of disputes in accordance with the international law.
“I appreciate Cambodia’s position for not intervening into the internal affairs (of other states) and for promoting peaceful conflict resolution,” he said.
Prak Sokhonn clarified that his country, which is not a party to the disputes in the South China Sea, is neutral.
He appealed to claimants to resolve their disputes in accordance with the international law and in accordance with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed by China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2002.
Wang, who left for Laos later in the day, arrived in Cambodia on Thursday after visiting Brunei, which is among the four ASEAN countries that claim territory in the South China Sea, the others being the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
While in that tiny sultanate, he said China’s development will not pose any threat or powerful challenge to its smaller neighbors, but rather it should be viewed as bringing them more opportunities and dividends, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
While in Phnom Penh, Wang also met with Prime Minister Hun Sen and paid a courtesy call to King Norodom Sihamoni.
China is a major contributor of development assistance to Cambodia and its biggest source of foreign direct investment.