PHNOM PENH, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- As leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday in California, an ASEAN affairs expert urged the ASEAN leaders not to let Washington exploit their presence against China.
"As the ASEAN leaders prepare to travel to the U.S. for the U.S.-ASEAN summit, my humble advise is - be mindful - don't let the U.S. hijack this meeting and use or exploit their presence against China," Joseph Matthews, director of the Phnom Penh-based ASEAN Education Center, said.
The Indian-born scholar said some regional experts believed that the forthcoming summit is a showing-off strategic partnership in the region to counter a rising China, which is facing maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas.
"This summit will provide an opportunity to the U.S. to reaffirm or most probably instigate parties involved in the dispute with China to continue hostile posture toward China and ceaselessly seeking support of the U.S. by supporting unlawful presence of the U.S. forces in Pacific Rim," he said.
Joseph said countries involved in dispute with China should understand the fact, resolving the dispute through bilateral negotiations and talks is in the best interest of regional security and economy.
"As security of region is linked with economic prosperity, and this is the fact, you cannot escape. Unnecessary involvement of the third party who happened to be an outsider could further complicate the issue," he said.
The two-day summit at Sunnylands estate is expected to touch on issues of security, climate change, natural disasters, epidemic diseases and anti-terrorism.
Commenting on Cambodia's position on the South China Sea issue, the expert said Cambodia's stance on the South China Sea has been appreciated and recognized around the world.
"Cambodia has kept its neutrality and impartiality throughout this dispute, despite criticism from some countries in the region," he said. "Cambodia believes in resolving all disputes through bilateral negotiations and talks, as it did with Thailand and Vietnam."
Mey Kalyan, senior adviser of the Cambodia's Supreme National Economic Council, said for the issue of South China Sea, a peaceful solution to the conflict is the best choice.
"In our age of economic globalization, conflicts mean loss to everyone," he said.