PHNOM PENH, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong has called on outsiders to avoid "provocation" over the South China Sea issue, saying that any disputes should be peacefully settled by parties directly concerned.
Noting that through many years of serious negotiations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are now working on the draft of the Code of Conduct (COC) to boost cooperation between parties directly concerned to deal with the relevant disputes, Namhong told Xinhua that countries outside the region should encourage ASEAN and China to reach the COC.
While ASEAN and China are in the process of settling their difference directly and peacefully through the COC, outside powers should contribute to peace in the region and avoid inflaming the disputes, he said.
Namhong recalled that Cambodia successfully promoted the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) by ASEAN and China in 2002 when Cambodia was the ASEAN's chair.
He said the DOC had laid a foundation for the parties directly concerned to behave peacefully.
Namhong also said he welcomed the Chinese government's statement in July 2016 which said that "China stands ready to continue to resolve the relevant disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation with the states directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law."
"I think one should appreciate this 2016 Declaration in which the Chinese government commits itself to respecting and upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all states under the international law in the South China Sea," he said. Enditem