Phnom Penh (FN), June 20 – Cambodia’s Minister of Information said in a Facebook page that it was Vietnam and the Philippines and not Cambodia that breached the ASEAN principle on South China Sea in 2012 and hence blocking an ASEAN joint statement from being endorsed and issued in 2012.

“I would like to clarify within my personal capacity that it was Vietnam and the Philippines that were at fault for the first time of breaching ASEAN principle on consensus. The consensus principle of ASEAN states that, in case of lack of consensus on any specific issue, ASEAN shall take out that particular issue. However, in 2012, both Vietnam and the Philippines set a condition that should there was not a consensus on the South China Sea issue, which was one controversial issue among more than a hundred others that were agreed upon, they would not sign off the joint statement,” wrote Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith in a post on his Facebook page on June 20, 2016.

“One should not forget that Vietnam’s Foreign Minister at that time is the son of the former well-known Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Nguyen Co Thach, who was one of the targets China demanded to be removed in exchange for normalization of Vietnam-China relations. Foreign diplomacy is not just about non-serious guessing or analysis without knowing what are behind the curtain,” the Minister added in the Facebook post.

Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier today firmly announced that Cambodia will not join in endorsing any statement 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.