PHNOM PENH - China has pledged more than $500 million in soft loans and grants to Cambodia and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao thanked it for helping Beijing maintain good relations with the regional grouping ASEAN, a Cambodian junior minister said.

A summit of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July failed to issue a joint communique for the first time in the group's 45-year history after disagreement over the wording of a section on territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Cambodia, which chairs ASEAN meetings this year, was accused by some countries in the group of stonewalling in support of its ally, China.

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