World, Asia - Pacific

Cambodia slams WSJ for 'distorted news' on naval base

Recent report of New York-based daily claims that Cambodia granted China access to a naval installation for 30 years

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 22.07.2019
Cambodia slams WSJ for 'distorted news' on naval base


Cambodia on Monday refuted reports that it has granted access to China for a naval base, local media reported.

“It is the worst distorted news aimed at us. No such thing has happened. A foreign military base will violate Cambodia’s constitution,” said Fresh News, a Cambodia based news website, quoting country’s Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Earlier New York-based Wall Street Journal had reported that Phnom Penh has granted exclusive rights to the Chinese military to use Cambodia's Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand. The newspaper further claimed that two nations have signed a secret agreement this spring.

“We’ve never discussed such an issue with Chinese leaders, so there is no need to say that any agreement was reached,” said Sen.

He asked international media to stop using "distorted news" about China’s military presence in Cambodia -- a Southeast Asian nation, known for its Mekong Delta and the ruins of Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex.

The Journal, quoting anonymous U.S. officials, said that the “agreement would grant China access to the Cambodian naval installation in the Gulf of Thailand for 30 years, with automatic renewal every 10 years.”

The report claimed that the base would be Beijing's first dedicated naval staging facility in Southeast Asia. “China would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships,” it added.

A Cambodian government spokesperson, however, asked the U.S. to respect and implement the U.S.-ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).

The treaty, which was signed 10 years ago, pledges not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs.

“On July 22 is the 10th anniversary of the TAC. Cambodia hopes that the U.S. would fully respect and implement the TAC, which is a key regional agreement on peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation,” the spokesperson said.

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