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មិនទទួលខុសត្រូវនិងធ្វើឲ្យជាតិខ្មាស់គេគ្រប់លំដាប់ថ្នាក់ Insensitive response by Cambodian diplomat considered as insult to The Philippines

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Communiqué only through full consensus

July 30, 2012
By Hos Sereythonh, Ambassador, Kingdom of Cambodia to the Republic of the Philippines

Finally, to try to blame Cambodia, as the ASEAN Chair, for what essentially was the inflexible and non-negotiable positions of the two countries of ASEAN is adirty politicsand therefore it should have no place in ASEAN.

I wish to respond to an article written by Erlinda Basilio, Undersecretary, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, published in your newspaper, on 19 July 2012, under the title: “What happened in Phnom Penh?” as follows:
The description and explanation of “What happened in Phnom Penh?” by Erlinda Basilio clearly represented the official position of the Philippines, and therefore just one view among the ASEAN Member-States. The format of this description and explanation is between fiction and fact, which Erlinda Basilio has tried tomanipulate, distort and exaggerate in order to make her case. After having carefully reviewed what she has termed “fictions” and “facts” all readers may be convinced of her story telling. Below is what I would like to clarify between fictions and facts in order to ensure that all of your readers have a better understanding of what actually transpired in Phnom Penh during the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and other ASEAN-related meetings.
First, it is a fiction or inventing reality when stated that “. . . the failure of the Chair to gain a consensus” of all ASEAN Member-States. In fact, eight out of ten ASEAN Member-States agreed to all 132 points in the Joint Communiqué of the AMM, including the 3 paragraphs (14, 15, 17) related to the South China Sea, except paragraph 16 which is the bilateral disputes between the Philippines and China and Vietnam and China, despite the tireless efforts of the ASEAN Chair as well as those of other ASEAN Member-States. Both the Philippines and Vietnam continued to insist from July 9 until the last day of the meeting (July 13) to include their national bilateral disputes with China in the JC. By doing so, the two countries wanted to sabotage and hijack the JC as well as the AMM, and to make them fail before the eyes of the ASEAN Dialogue Partners and the International Community. It was truly an un-ASEAN spirit of unity and solidarity.
Second, the “souring of the mood” which led to the non-issuance of the JC could undoubtedly be attributed to the inflexible and non-negotiable position of the two countries, the Philippines and Vietnam. As a matter of fact, the Foreign Secretary of the Philippines stated at the meeting that on the bilateral dispute between the Philippines and China, it was non-negotiable, and therefore he insisted that it must be included in the JC, or there would be no JC at all. In other words, the two countries demanded that ASEAN collectively must yield to the national interests of the Philippines and Vietnam, even if it is at the expense of ASEAN.

Third, throughout the 45th AMM, the ASEAN Chair had tried very hard to encourage all ASEAN Member-States to stick to the position of principle, meaning that ASEAN should deal with the bilateral dispute in the South China Sea on the basis of the agreed principles, such as the DOC, the DOC Guidelines, the 1982 UNCLOS, universally recognized principles of international law, among others. At the same time, the ASEAN Chair wanted all ASEAN Member-States to look at the general position of ASEAN, without getting bogged down with specific national and bilateral issues, which could complicate ASEAN’s position and interest, especially in relations to all of its Dialogue Partners, including China. But the two countries of ASEAN rejected Cambodia’s (and ASEAN Chair’s) appeal to stick to the general principles because they were not happy with the position of Cambodia for not issuing an ASEAN statement since April of this year regarding the dispute in the Scarborough Shoal. But, in the end, the two countries agreed with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ “Six-Point Principles,” which are similar to what the ASEAN Chair had raised throughout the AMM.
Fourth, as the Chair of ASEAN, Cambodia has always been mindful of the need to secure full consensus of all ASEAN Member-States before ASEAN could issue any statement, especially on the sensitive issue of the South China Sea. In fact, since April of this year, Cambodia had been receiving pressures from the ASEAN claimant states and others to issue an ASEAN statement on the situation in the South China Sea. To ensure that ASEAN has full consensus, Cambodia, as the ASEAN Chair, wrote to all ASEAN Foreign Ministers to ask for responses in writing on this issue. But, after waiting for several weeks, it was clear that ASEAN had no consensus on this matter of Scarborough Shoal. Therefore, no one could blame Cambodia for not issuing the ASEAN statement, because to have done so Cambodia would had violated the ASEAN Charter on the consensus-based decision-making.
Fifth, once again, as the Chair of ASEAN, Cambodia had to be sensitive to the concerns of all ASEAN Member-States, not just those of a few countries. Cambodia, or another other ASEAN Member, could not proceed without having the full consensus of all ASEAN Members. To state that the view of the Philippines has the support of four other ASEAN Members on the issue of the South China Sea is to demonstrate the point that the Philippines did not have the full support of all ASEAN Members on its position.
Finally, to try to blame Cambodia, as the ASEAN Chair, for what essentially was the inflexible and non-negotiable positions of the two countries of ASEAN is adirty politics and therefore it should have no place in ASEAN.





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