Southeast Asian nations fail to issue statement on China sea disputes amid disagreements | iNFOnews

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Southeast Asian nations fail to issue statement on China sea disputes amid disagreements

Laos's Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, right, escorts his Cambodia's counterpart Hor Namhong, center, to his seat as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, looks on during the 5th Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, July 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
July 13, 2012 - 1:55 AM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Southeast Asian nations have failed to issue a joint statement at the end of foreign ministerial meetings after diplomats clashed over whether to mention a touchy territorial dispute involving China.

The failure to come up with the statement was unprecedented in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' 45-year history. It underscores deep divisions within the 10-member bloc on how to deal with conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea that involve four of its members plus China and Taiwan.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said Friday that the Philippines and Vietnam wanted the statement to include a reference to the recent standoff between China and the Philippines at a shoal in the South China Sea claimed by both countries.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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