Cambodia, China join aunt to build a naval base in Ream

In a phone call with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong on June 7, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn emphasized that the above information was a “baseless accusation”.

Earlier, Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan also confirmed that Cambodia will not allow the Chinese military to build a military base in the country.

For its part, Beijing denied the suspicion that the base in Cambodia would only be for the navy of this country.

“The conversion of the Ream naval base is only to strengthen the capacity of the Cambodian navy in preserving maritime territorial sovereignty and suppressing crimes at sea,” he said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on June 7.

Cambodia, China together with friends believe in building a naval base in Ream - 1

Cambodian soldiers at Ream base. (Photo: Reuters)

Mr. Trieu said that Washington’s speculations were “aimed at attacking and smearing” Cambodia.

The above statements were made not long after the newspaper Washington Post China is secretly building a naval base exclusively for the Chinese army in Cambodia.

The US newspaper reported that this facility, located in the area north of Cambodia’s Ream naval base on the Gulf of Thailand, includes a ship repair yard and a pier. The groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place this week with the participation of Chinese ambassador Wang Wentian.

After this information was published, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed concern, and called on Beijing to be transparent about its intentions and ensure activities to support security and stability in the region.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly affirmed that the country is only carrying out modernization of the Ream base, including the development of a new ship maintenance facility with support from China.

Concerns about China building bases in Cambodia appeared in 2019 after the newspaper Wall Street Journal reported that Beijing signed a secret agreement allowing its military to use the base. At that time, both China and Cambodia also denied this information.

Beijing says it is merely helping Cambodia with military training and logistical equipment.

However, over the weekend, a Chinese official in Beijing confirmed to Washington Post that “part of the base” will be “used by the Chinese military”.

The official added that scientists will also use the facility. In addition, the Chinese side is not engaged in any activities on the Cambodian side of the base.

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