China scored a diplomatic victory on Monday as Southeast Asian nations dropped a U.S.-backed proposal to mention a landmark international court ruling against Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea in a joint statement, Reuters reports. A weekend deadlock between Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers was broken only when the Philippines withdrew its request to mention the ruling in the face of resolute objections from Cambodia, China’s closest ASEAN ally. China publicly thanked Phnom Penh for the support, which threw the regional bloc’s meeting in the Laos capital of Vientiane into disarray. The United States had earlier on Monday urged ASEAN to make a reference to the July 12 ruling by the U.N.-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration.
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