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01:48 PM, July 25, 2016
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No Consensus Within ASEAN Regarding Maritime Disputes In South China Sea
ASEAN Struggles to Unify Against China (Image: Din Merican)

Southeast nations failed to agree on maritime disputes in South China Sea after Cambodia blocked mention to the international court ruling against Beijing.

The Philippines and Vietnam both wanted a communiqué issued by ASEAN foreign ministers after their meeting to refer to the ruling and the need to respect international law, ASEAN diplomats were quoted as saying by Reuters.

Their foreign ministers both discussed the ruling with ASEAN counterparts in the Laotian capital. But before the meeting, China's closest ASEAN ally Cambodia opposed the proposed wording, throwing the group into disarray. Phnom Penh supports Beijing's opposition to any ASEAN stand on the South China Sea, and its preference for dealing with the disputed claims on a bilateral basis, the report said.

The ruling by the court in The Hague denied China's sweeping claims in the strategic seaway, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

China claims most of the sea, but ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all have rival claims. Beijing says the ruling has no bearing on its rights in the sea, and described the case as a farce.

Beijing is considering fortifying South China Sea with increase in the number of defensive weapons, increase civilian construction and expand airports on some of the islands depending on the threat level.

Apart from the airports, other civilian facilities include maritime 4G signals to all seven inhabited islets in the Nansha Islands.

China is considering expanding the construction of civilian facilities on some of the South China Sea islands, and the scale of the construction depends on the threat level China faces in the region, analysts said.

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