Asean representatives and Chinese officials opened a workshop in Phnom Penh on Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of a regional Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which remains a nettling problem for many Southeast Asian countries.
PHNOM PENH - Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong opened the meetings, saying he was pleased that all parties have expressed “full commitment” to implementing the declaration, which was signed in 2002.
The meetings follow a breakdown in talks over a code of conduct for the contentious South China Sea during Asean meetings with China earlier this year. In those talks, which ended in stalemate, Cambodia was accused of using its chairmanship of Asean to further the ambitions of China, a major donor to the country.
Nopadol Gunavibool, a Thai foreign ministry official, said Thursday’s meeting was not about implementing the declaration in full, but of rebuilding “trust and confidence.”
Fu Ying, vice foreign minister of China, said her country is committed to fully implementing the declaration. A declaration of conduct is seen as a necessary stopgap for preventing conflict over the sea, where overlapping claims between China and other Asean countries have been the source of military standoffs in recent months.