| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Cambodia, Vietnam call for upholding int’l law in South China Sea

Urging adherence to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), Cambodia and Vietnam called on Wednesday for upholding international law in the disputed South China Sea
“The two sides reiterated ASEAN’s position on (the) importance of maintaining peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea,” said a joint communique issued after the Vietnamese president’s three-day state visit to the kingdom.
Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is in Cambodia, where he met with top officials, including Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The two Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members called for promoting dialogue and trust-building in the South China Sea.
The mineral-rich warm waters of the South China Sea have been the subject of a persisting dispute between China, regional countries, and the US and its allies.
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are all ASEAN members with coasts to the South China Sea.
The maritime body has been claimed by China and several other regional countries.
China’s claims are based on its “nine-dash line” on official maps that represent Beijing’s historical claims to the South China Sea.
In 2016, the Philippines won a case at The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration that invalidated China’s expansive claims over the resource-rich South China Sea.
China has called out regular visits by warships of the US and its allies in the region, accusing Washington of weaponizing the waters. Western countries have resisted Beijing’s vast maritime claims.
Cambodia and Vietnam, without singling out any one party, urged exercising restraint, upholding international law, and peacefully resolving disputes in accordance with international legal documents, including the UNCLOS, “without resorting to the threat of use of force.”
The two countries have called for “full and effective implementation of the South China Sea Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DoC) in its entirety.”
The DoC is a South China Sea conduct agreement signed by ASEAN and China in November 2002, marking the first time China had accepted a multilateral agreement on the issue.
The declaration will complete two decades next year, with ASEAN and China planning a slew of events to commemorate the occasion.
Cambodia and Vietnam also called for the “conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC) consistent with the international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.”