U.S. Secretary of States John Kerry met Cambodian leaders on Tuesday but failed to secure their commitment to a more robust stance with Southeast Asian nations against China’s pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Kerry was in Cambodia after a visit to neighboring Laos as part of an effort to urge unity among leaders of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations before a summit with President Barack Obama in Sunnylands, California, next month.
In Phnom Penh, Kerry met Hun Sen, Asia’s longest serving prime minister, and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong for what Kerry described as “candid and constructive” meetings.
Hor Namhong said Cambodia’s position on the South China Sea was unchanged. It believed individual countries should settle disputes among themselves without the involvement of ASEAN, he said.
That mirrors China’s position that ASEAN is not a party to territorial disputes, so rows should be resolved bilaterally.
“We want it open to negotiations in the future between countries who made claims in the South China Sea,” Hor Namhong said. Read More