Cambodia's deputy PM praises China's commit on 2016 Declaration

Although China violated the International 2016 ruling on the South China Sea or Bien Dong Sea issue, the Cambodian deputy PM was recently quoted by Xinhua for his praise of Beijing's claims following the ruling.
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Late on Oct. 4, China's Xinhua News published an article quoting Cambodian Deputy PM's praise of the Chinese government's statement in July 2016. (Photo: CGTV)

Late on Oct. 4, China's Xinhua News published an article quoting Cambodian Deputy PM's praise of the Chinese government's statement in July 2016 which said that "China stands ready to continue to resolve the relevant disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation with the states directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law," which, in fact, has not been implemented and followed by the Chinese government.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong has called on outsiders to avoid "provocation" over the South China Sea issue, saying that any disputes should be peacefully settled by parties directly concerned.

According to Vietnam's Thanh Nien, even though Xinhua did not directly point at any "outsiders", it has been allegedly using the term to imply the US and allies their presence on the Bien Dong Sea.

Xinhua quoted Cambodia Deputy PM that: "I think one should appreciate this 2016 Declaration in which the Chinese government commits itself to respect and upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all states under the international law in the South China Sea" and that "through many years of serious negotiations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are now working on the draft of the Code of Conduct (COC) to boost cooperation between parties directly concerned to deal with the relevant disputes".

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The United Kingdom, France and Germany have signed a joint note denouncing China’s claims in the South China Sea. (Photo: AFP)

However, Thanh Nien pointed out that after the International Court of Arbitration ruled out China's sovereignty claim over the Bien Dong Sea, Beijing declared the ruling as "null and void". China's behavior has been criticized by the international community as disregard for international law.

According to BBC and Asia Times, Australia has earlier referred to China's action on the sea as "having no legal basis"; German, France, and the UK in September have signed a joint note denouncing China’s claims in the Bien Dong Sea, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte covered the South China Sea and the importance of the 2016 tribunal award in his 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly speech.

Since the release of the 2016 tribunal ruling, China has regularly engaged in aggressive activities and violations of international law in the Bien Dong Sea, including its recent drills and China’s suspected plans for Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, which are officially rejected by both governments but noticed and concerned by international experts.

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