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147 civil society organizations in Cambodia backs up PM's stance over South China Sea

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-04 17:28

PHNOM PENH - Leaders of 147 non-governmental organizations, associations and trade unions in Cambodia on Monday issued a joint statement, expressing their support to Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen's stance over the South China Sea issue.

"We all back the stance of the Royal Government of Cambodia for not joining in issuing any statement that supports the arbitral tribunal's decision related to the dispute in the South China Sea," the joint statement said.

"We all insist that all parties concerned exercise utmost restraint, do not use force or threaten to use force on the issues of South China Sea in order to give possibility to the parties directly concerned to negotiate with each other based on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)," it said.

The joint statement also encouraged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China to work together to achieve a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

The joint statement came after the Cambodian prime minister announced last week that the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) would not support, and more so would be against, any declaration by ASEAN to support decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in relation to the South China Sea disputes.

The prime minister said that the party considered the arbitral tribunal's upcoming decision as "the worst political collusion in the framework of international politics," the result of which would lead to division among ASEAN members themselves and between ASEAN and China.

He called on the parties directly concerned to resolve their disputes through peaceful negotiations and urged countries outside the region to cease their interference on the South China Sea issue.

In 2013, the Philippines unilaterally filed compulsory arbitration against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague with respect to the two sides' disputes in the South China Sea.

The Chinese government has reiterated its non-acceptance and non-participation stance in the case.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in its statement issued on June 8 that China has all along stood for peacefully settling territorial and maritime delimitation disputes through negotiations with states directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with the international law.

On issues concerning territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation, China never accepts any recourse to third party settlement, or any means of dispute settlement that is imposed on it, the statement said.

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