South China Sea issue - Ex-diplomat: Asean-China ties unaffected

Added On July 24, 2016

A former Lao diplomat says the South China Sea issue would not impede the further development of relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
An ad hoc tribunal handling the South China Sea arbitration issued an award on July 12, sweepingly siding with Manila's claims. 
China has dismissed the biased ruling as  "null and void with no binding force". 
Soukthavy Keola, a former counselor with the Lao Embassy in China, on Friday said the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines is just an episode of the ASEAN-China cooperation.
Soukthavy said China and ASEAN share greater common interests and have a brighter future for development compared with their differences, and the arbitration case is also against the interests of both Chinese and ASEAN people.
The former diplomat said if the South China Sea issue impacts the ASEAN-China economic cooperation, it will harm the mechanism and role of ASEAN as a regional bloc.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE): SOUKTHAVY KEOLA, Ex-counselor with Lao Embassy in China  
"I think any problem can be solved as long as all parties concerned sit down and discuss the South China Sea issue earnestly with goodwill. Even if the problems could not be solved, they will find a mutually acceptable solution to maintain peace and stability in the region."