Phnom Penh (FN), June 20 – Speaking from Phnom Penh and with the intent of sending the message to ASEAN as well as non-ASEAN leaders, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen firmly announced that “Cambodia will not join in endorsing any statement to support a judicial decision in regard of issues related to the South China Sea disputes, since Cambodia is taking a neutral position and would like to call on countries involved in the conflicts with China to meet and negotiate with each other rather than engaging Cambodia in the process.

The premier was delivering this serious political remark after there were reports that Cambodia had spoiled an ASEAN joint statement related to the South China Sea issues. Cambodia has played a very good coordination role in regard of the South China Sea issues between China and countries in the region and would like to call on all countries involved in the South China Sea issues to get to negotiating table other than engaging Cambodia in the issues, the premier added.

“You are just fighting each other over South China Sea and then accused Cambodia of undermining [a joint statement]. So, please, those countries engaged in the disputes come and talk with each other while Cambodia would just choose to stay neutral on this issue. Cambodia would not be a puppet of anybody on South China Sea issue,” Prime Minister Hun Sen was quoted as saying by Fresh News.

Also in relation to the South China Sea issues, the premier said that about a month ago, a diplomat of a country, not to be identified, came and tried to lobby Cambodia to endorse a statement in support of a court decision on the South China Sea disputes. The Prime Minister elaborated that, by persuading Cambodia, those countries were already aware of the court decision. They had already in contact with the court before the decision would come out and so the court itself was not fair and Cambodia would not support it, the press quoted the premier as saying.

Moreover, Prime Minister Hun Sen has also called on non-ASEAN countries to not interfere in the ASEAN affairs on South China Sea issues.