Talks of the conflict in South China Sea remain to be one of the most important issues Asia is facing right now.
As the battle for land and resources rage on among ASEAN countries who are staking claim on it, Cambodia remains to be by China’s side while claiming to have a neutral stance on the issue.
The conflict was apparent in yesterday’s presidential debate in the Philippines when the candidates presented their case for the ongoing dispute. One candidate, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said of the issue, “I won't go to war with China, but if they don't cooperate I'll stake claim.”
Should the conflict escalate, can Cambodia retain a neutral stance or will it stand with its long time partnership with China? Will this affect any potential and outstanding dealings between Cambodia and the Philippines? We may have to wait for the decision for the arbitrary case filed by Manila against Beijing to find out.
Meanwhile, China – along with Brunei, Laos and Cambodia – asserts that the conflict should not affect ASEAN relations.