Chinese media reports agreement reached that individual countries will settle any dispute with China directly and not as a bloc.
Cambodia has not come to any new agreement with China regarding the East Sea issue, the country’s Secretary of State and Spokesman for the Council of Ministers, Phay Siphan, said on April 27.
His response contradicts comments made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson 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 dispute is between individual nations rather than China and ASEAN as a whole, the agreement apparently states, and countries should be left to settle disputes by themselves and do so without the use or threat of force.
Chinese media, including China Central Television (CCTV), quoted the spokesperson on April 22 on the occasion of the visit to Cambodia by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi from April 21 to 22.
Mr. Siphan said that there was no agreement or discussion on the issue during the visit.
Cambodia’s stance is that it wants parties concerned to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, which was reached between China and ASEAN nations in 2002, when Cambodia held the ASEAN chairmanship.
It wants all ASEAN countries to strive to expeditiously finalize a code of conduct in the waters, he added.
At a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi following the 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 resolve the dispute through peaceful means.