Cambodia’s royalist party voices support for China’s rejection of arbitration over South China Sea disputes

Cambodian Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of the royalist Funcinpec Party, said on Thursday that the party fully backs China for rejecting the arbitration from an international tribunal over the South China Sea disputes.

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.

“We have already issued a statement supporting China’s position over the South China Sea issue,” Ranariddh said here during an interview with Chinese media outlets.

He said China has the rights to decline the arbitral tribunal because China has excluded maritime delimitation from the arbitration in a declaration it made in 2006 in accordance with Article 298 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and has made it clear it will not accept or get involved in those proceedings.

The prince accused the Philippines of violating an agreement it signed with China on resolving their disputes through negotiations.

He also said that the Philippines had breached the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which China and ASEAN, including the Philippines, signed in 2002. The DOC clearly stated that all the disputes be resolved through negotiations and consultations by countries directly involved.

“We, the Funcipec Party, cannot support the Philippines for unilaterally filing the arbitration case,” said Ranariddh who was a former professor of international laws in France.

The prince called on all parties concerned in the disputes to negotiate with each other and urged the outsiders not to interfere in the issues.

“We urge all countries directly concerned, including Vietnam and the Philippines, to negotiate with China,” he said, adding that the UNCLOS and DOC are the legal base for their negotiations.

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 added.