Tea Banh: No foreign military base

Taing Vida / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Defence Minister General Tea Banh speaks in the closing ceremony of UN demining training close on Friday. KT/Khem Sovannara

Defence Minister General Tea Banh today reiterated that the Kingdom will not authorise any foreign military base on its territory, nor have its own military based abroad, except within the framework of United Nations request.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the UN demining training course on Friday, General Banh said the government has firmly implemented its foreign policy to defend its national interests as well as actively increasing friendship and cooperation with friendly countries.

However, he noted that an American news outlet, the Wall Street Journal has allegedly accused Cambodia of signing a secret agreement with China, which allows the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to have exclusive use of part of Ream Naval base near Sihanoukville.

He said the WSJ has a strong suggested that the agreement would allow China to establish their naval base on the Cambodian coast and to use the airport, which is being constructed by the Chinese, as a base for troop garrison, weapon storage and warship berthing for the duration of 30 years.

“This publication was done with ill intention to undermine peace and security in Cambodia as well as the region,” he said. Adding that some American officials as well as journalists, who lack professionalism, must conduct a rigorous study of Cambodia Constitution, in particular.

Gen. Banh said the Kingdom of Cambodia will not join any military alliance, nor conclude any military agreement which is incompatible with its policy of neutrality.

The Kingdom of Cambodia reserve the rights to receive foreign assistance in military equipment, armaments, ammunition, in training of its armed forces, and other assistance for self defense and for ensuring public order and security within it territory.

According to The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, US and allied officials said China is aiming to project its military power around the world.

“The pact–signed this spring but not disclosed by either side–gives China exclusive rights to part of a Cambodian naval installation on the Gulf of Thailand, not far from a large airport now being constructed by a Chinese company,” the Journal said in its report.

On Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the report was “the worst kind of distorted news aimed at [Cambodia]”, noting that the alleged agreement was never discussed.

Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also said the relationship between Cambodia and China was “over-interpreted”.

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