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Chinese defence chief will be at ASEAN meet

Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie will attend a meeting of his ASEAN counterparts tomorrow in which a Code of Conduct over the disputed South China Sea is set to be discussed, a government minister said yesterday.

ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – along with China and Taiwan – all have competing sovereignty claims over the resource rich body of water that will be discussed during the meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.

Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh confirmed yesterday that Liang Guanglie had arrived and would attend the meeting.

“I invited him [Liang] to visit Cambodia during the time we host the [ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting]. Therefore, he will be consulting with ASEAN defence ministers, and I would not be able to disclose his ideas for consultation during the meeting,” Tea Banh said at a press conference.

The COC is a step on the long road towards a resolution on the South China Sea issue and follows an existing Document of Conduct that has never been properly adhered to.

General Nem Sowath, director general of the Policy and Foreign Affairs Department of the Ministry of Defence, said that 129 senior military leaders from the 10 countries that form ASEAN would attend the meeting.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at sokheng.vong@phnompenhpost.com

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