AS expected, the People’s Republic of China’s ever-loyal satrap Cambodia did an excellent job for its master.
An Agence France-Presse article from Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has reported that “Staunch China ally Cambodia is preventing Southeast Asia from reaching a consensus on the South China Sea after an international tribunal rejected Beijing’s territorial claims to the waters, a diplomat said Saturday (July 23).”
“The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is meeting in Laos for the first time since the UN-backed tribunal ruled earlier this month that China did not have historic rights to vast swathes of the strategic sea.”
The issue has dominated the Asean meeting. “China invests heavily across Asean but is accused of trying to divide the bloc by habitually offering aid, soft loans and diplomatic support to key allies Laos and Cambodia,” states the AFP report, which also says that a “Southeast Asian diplomat told AFP Saturday that only Cambodia is standing in the way of a joint statement on the waters.”
“It’s very grave. Cambodia just opposes almost everything, even reference to respect for legal and diplomatic processes which already has been in previous statements,” the AFP report quotes the diplomat as saying.
Laos, ruled by the Communist Party, is also closely linked to China. It is dependent for survival on China’s financial aid and other kinds of assistance to survive. It is preventing Asean from forming a united front on the South China Sea issue. Observers, however, say that because it chairs the current Asean summit, it does not want the meeting to end without a common statement, even if its anti-China sentences are watered down. It can depend on its neighbor and fellow China satrap, Cambodia, to fight actively for China.
Last month, Malaysia authored a joint statement voicing Asean’s concern over China’s aggressive activities in the South China/West Philippine Sea. All the other Asean members okayed it, but Laos and Cambodia disowned the Malaysian-authored statement, so there was no post-Asean-China meeting joint statement.
In 2012, Asean foreign ministers failed to issue a joint statement for the first time in decades at the end of their annual meeting because Cambodia, host and chair of the summit, persisted in removing any Asean criticism of China.
Before Communist Party-ruled China’s government assumed the characteristics of a normal member of the international community, abiding with the international order produced by the Western powers, China would mock developing countries like the Philippines that had stable and amicable relations with the Western powers as “running dogs” of the US.
Now, Cambodia has become the “running dog” of Beijing.
Prior to today’s Cambodian service of fealty to China, in Vientiane, Cambodia deported last month 39 suspected criminals to China, 25 of whom were Taiwanese but whom Beijing insisted were its people—against protests by autonomous ROC-Taiwan that these were its citizens.
Last Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang angrily denied reports that Beijing’s recent gift of $600 million in aid package to Cambodia was aimed to buy diplomatic support.
But Lu Kang’s statement only highlighted Cambodia’s role in killing the Asean consensus on the South China Sea dispute in Vientiane.