Southeast Asia

New Ambassador Appointed To Philippines After Row

Cambodia has nominated a new ambassador to the Philippines, following a diplomatic row over the failed Asean security meeting in July and Cambodia’s positions on the South China Sea.

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Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Cambodia has nominated a new ambassador to the Philippines, following a diplomatic row over the failed Asean security meeting in July and Cambodia’s positions on the South China Sea.

The former ambassador, Hos Sreythoun, was recalled to Cambodia Aug. 6, despite calls from the Philippines government to answer for statements he made in the media criticizing the Philippines for helping derail the Asean meeting.

Cambodia hosted the security meeting last month, in its role as rotating president of Asean, but the region’s ministers failed to agree on a code of conduct for the South China Sea or even to deliver a joint communique on their meeting, a first in 45 years.

Hos Sreythoun later told a newspaper in Manila that Vietnam and the Philippines had “sabotaged” the talks over the South China Sea.

Independent analysts have said the talks failed because Cambodia took a hardline position on language in the code of conduct and the communique that closely mirrored the position of China, which has overlapping claims in the sea with Vietnam, the Philippines and other Asean states and is a major aid donor to Cambodia.

Hos Sreythoun failed to appear before the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs to answer for his politically sensitive comments.

Cambodian officials say he was returned for health reasons. He will be replaced with Tout Panha, an undersecretary of state for the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the ministry.

Koy Kuong said the ambassador change was not because of the South China Sea issue. “The change will not affect our diplomatic relations,” he said.
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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