Mischief Reef (Kagitingan reef)

Respect! Cambodian Prime Minister Responds to Vietnamese Comment

PHNOM PENH — Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen reiterated late Friday that the South China Sea issue should be settled through peaceful negotiations by the parties directly concerned.

“The South China Sea conflict should be resolved peacefully by the Chinese and Vietnamese governments,” the prime minister wrote on his official Facebook page in response to a Vietnamese Facebook user who criticized Cambodia’s position on the issue.

Last July 2016, Cambodia has refused to join other ASEAN members in issuing statements disputing China’s extensive efforts to assert control over waters that also are claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

The first time, in 2012, was also due to Cambodia’s resistance to language about the South China Sea.

“We have been here before and I hope they can solve it,” said one official from the ASEAN Secretariat in Indonesia. “It is the same story again, a repeat of the meeting in 2012.”

“It’s the sole decision of Vietnamese government to solve the issue of South China Sea. It’s your right to choose war or peace solution on this particular issue,” Hun Sen wrote.

“Definitely, you should respect the country of Laos, especially Cambodia, because we’re not related in the South China Sea issue.”

Meanwhile, the prime minister urged the Vietnamese government to educate its people not to bother him anymore, saying that in recent months, he had received many inappropriate and insulting comments made by Vietnamese people targeting him and the Cambodian people.

“I want to tell you to respect our country’s independence and sovereignty because Cambodia has an equal right with other countries including Vietnam,” he said, referring to the Vietnamese Facebook user.