South China Sea: Asean deadlock after court ruling against China

SOUTH-East Asian nations have failed to agree a common position on Chinese claims to the South Sea China, after a court ruled against Beijing.
The international tribunal supported a case brought by the Philippines this month, rejecting Chinese claims to rights in the sea.
At a meeting in Laos, foreign ministers from 10 states – the Asean group – were unable to reach a joint statement, BBC reported.
Diplomats said that Chinese ally Cambodia blocked any reference to the ruling.
“It’s really a loyalist of the big country C,” a diplomat who attended closed-door meetings in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, told the Associated Press news agency.
Asean ministers were meeting for the first time since the ruling on 12 July by thePermanent Court of Arbitration, which found there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources.
China, which claims almost all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands also claimed by others, called the ruling “ill-founded” and said it would not be bound by it.
Asean (the Association of South-East Asian Nations) is made up of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Along with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims on the South China Sea, as does the non-Asean island of Taiwan.
One regional analyst, Malcolm Cook at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, told AP the disagreement was hurting Asean’s image.
“Certainly, Cambodia’s paralysis of Asean… hurts Asean’s unity, cohesion, relevance and reputation,” he said. “It makes Asean peripheral, not central, on this issue.”
Asean now has until Tuesday to come to an agreement, an unnamed diplomat told Reuters news agency.
Otherwise the association faces the rare prospect of being unable to issue a joint statement after a meeting for only the second time in its history.