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China resolute on sea

The Chinese ambassador to Cambodia yesterday declined to say whether the South China Sea dispute would be raised when Chinese president Hu Jintao meets with Prime Minister Hun Sen during his upcoming visit, instead reiterating China’s long-standing position on the issue.

Speaking at a press conference at the Chinese embassy, ambassador Pan Guangxue said China would continue to focus on development and cooperation on the issue, pointing out that his country had actively negotiated for the establishment of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea when Cambodia first chaired ASEAN 10 years ago.

Some critics have derided the pact as toothless due to its lack of legally binding enforcement mechanisms.

“China strongly opposes the internationalisation of the issue and the raising of the issue in an inappropriate place,” Pan said, adding that China also “strongly opposes countries outside the region interfering in the issue”.

On Friday, Hu will arrive at the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni, marking his first state visit to Cambodia.

Pan said Hu would meet with the King, Prime Minister Hun Sen, Senate president Chea Sim and National Assembly president Heng Samrin during his four-day visit.

Hu would also visit Angkor Wat and meet with experts who had helped restore the temple, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cassandra Yeap at cassandra.yeap@phnompenhpost.com

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