Spotlight: Outsiders should not try to interfere in South China Sea issue: Cambodian official, experts

PHNOM PENH, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian government spokesman and experts have said that outsiders should not try to interfere in the South China Sea issue, saying that their interference is "harmful, not helpful."

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said on Monday that the current situation of the South China Sea is stable, but envisages that there can be tensions if there is continued interference from the outsiders.

"The outsiders should not continue to stir up troubles in the South China Sea under the pretext of freedom of navigation," he told Xinhua. "Any interference from the third party or outsiders not only affects joint efforts made by China and ASEAN countries, but also sparks confrontations in the South China Sea."

The spokesman said Cambodia wants all parties directly concerned to exercise their utmost restraint and continue to resolve their disputes by peaceful negotiations.

"So far, China and ASEAN have made steady progress in negotiating the Code of Conduct (COC), and we encourage all parties concerned to continue their peaceful negotiations for the sake of peace, stability and development in the region," Siphan said.

Joseph Matthews, senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said currently, the situation in South China Sea is more stable and peaceful comparing to the situation a few years ago.

The third party's interference in the dispute has never been helpful, said Matthews, adding "it was more harmful than any good, so the country or countries outside the disputed realm should stay out of the conflict and don't try to be a part of something that even not concern to you directly or indirectly."

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