Ream Naval Base yesterday dismissed peculations by a senior US military officer that it will host Chinese military facilities in its base in Preah Sihanouk province.
US embassy spokesperson Emily Zeeberg said in a statement today regarding a letter from Joseph Felter, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia, to Cambodia’s Ministry of Defence.
“Recent developments have fueled speculation about Cambodia’s future plans for Ream Naval Base, including the possible hosting of Chinese military facilities, given the high level of Chinese economic and political influence in Cambodia, is a real concern,” the statement said.
“Any steps that weaken Cambodia’s independence or open the door to a foreign military presence in Cambodia would be of serious concern to the United States and could threaten the credibility and centrality of ASEAN,” it said. “We urge Cambodian leadership to maintain its constitutional commitment to have an independent foreign policy and actively protect Cambodia’s independence for future generations.”
Ream Naval Base spokesman Rear Admiral Mey Dina rejected the US embassy’s statement.
“Ream Naval Base wishes to reject the statement made by the US embassy that speculated about the future of Chinese military facilities in our Naval Base. We have no Chinese military base here,” he said.
“Cambodia’s constitution does not allow foreign troops to build a military base in its territory,” he said “Ream Naval Base maintains our sovereignty and we will continue to strengthen international cooperation with other navies in the region and the world.”