Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe on Sunday dismissed a US Department of Defence report that China is establishing a military presence in Cambodia.
On Saturday, the US Department of Defence released an updated version of its Indo-Pacific Strategy report titled “Preparedness, Partnerships and Promoting a Networked Region”.
The report said that the US is “concerned about reports that China is seeking to establish bases or a military presence on its [Cambodian] coast, a development that would challenge regional security and signal a clear shift in Cambodia’s foreign policy orientation”.
On Sunday, Gen Wei during the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore reiterated that there will not be Chinese military presence in the Kingdom.
“Our Cambodian friends are out there and there is no such thing as China establishing its military presence in Cambodia. There is no such thing out there,” he said when asked about the report during the security summit, which was also attended by Defence Minister General Tea Banh.
Gen Banh said the Americans and the Chinese have different stances regarding global security.
“I noted that their clarifications accounted for their own core benefits and required other countries to respect them. This is the outstanding part I have observed,” he said.
In November, Asia Times reported that China has been lobbying the government since 2017 for a port in Koh Kong province, on the Gulf of Thailand, to be used as a naval base.
In the wake of the report, both governments denied the claim and Wang Chao, vice president of UDG, also dismissed the claims as he gave Khmer Times an exclusive look into the company’s plans for the leased land.