Cambodian PM denies role in ASEAN U-turn on South China Sea

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PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Premier Hun Sen lashed out on Monday at claims his government had bowed to Chinese pressure to help scupper a joint statement by Southeast Asian nations on the South China Sea. In an angry speech Hun Sen also accused an international court of political bias as it prepares to rule on a sea dispute between the Philippines and China. The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration is widely expected to rule against Beijing when it delivers its verdict in the coming weeks. Last week a meeting of foreign ministers from China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Kunming ended in chaos and renewed allegations of regional bullying by Beijing. The diplomatic fracas erupted when Malaysia released a joint statement from ASEAN members voicing “serious concerns” at land reclamation and other activities. The strongly-worded statement did not name China but clearly referred to its extensive island-building.

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AFP

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