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Foreign Minister, US ambassador discuss coming meets

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhon on Tuesday met with US Ambassador William Heidt to discuss a pair of upcoming meetings of mutual interest: the ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

The events will be held in Laos on September 3-8, and will be attended by both Prime Minister Hun Sen and US President Barack Obama. Both the US Embassy and the Foreign Ministry declined to discuss the details of Tuesday’s meeting.

Defence researcher Greg Raymond yesterday said the meetings will be especially important given the recent international court decision that China has no legal basis to claim sovereignty over contested areas in the South China Sea, a blow to China’s expansionist plans.

“Many of the non-ASEAN members of the EAS will be pushing for [China’s] adherence to the Tribunal award, which will lead to a tense EAS meeting,” said Raymond, a research fellow at the Australian National University.

Cambodia is important because it is the ASEAN member most susceptible to China’s pressures, he added. “When ASEAN disunity of this type occurs, questions begin to be asked as to whether ASEAN’s expansion was the right decision.”

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