SE Asia deadlocked as S. China Sea split deepens

Staunch China ally Cambodia is preventing Southeast Asia from reaching a consensus on the South China Sea after an international tribunal rejected Beijing's territorial claims to the waters, a diplomat said in Vientiane on July 23Southeast Asian nations were deadlocked Sunday about how to confront China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea as pressure from Beijing again drove a wedge between countries on the region’s toughest security challenge. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) boasts four countries who have competing claims with Beijing to parts of the sea, and is fiercely divided on the issue. Rival claimants have accused China of deftly forging alliances with smaller member countries like Laos, this year’s host, and Cambodia through aid and loans to divide the once consensus-driven bloc.

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