Phnom Penh (FN), July 23 – A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told the US’s medias not to over-interpret the good cooperation of China-Cambodia, addressing at a news briefing on Monday in response to a Wall Street Journal report over Cambodia granting China a naval base to use.
When asked to confirm whether China will be able to use a Cambodian naval base under a “secret agreement” the two nations have reached, Geng Shuang responded that: “As I understand, the Cambodia side has denied this.”
“As traditional friendly neighbors, China and Cambodia have conducted cooperation across the board. Our cooperation is open, transparent, equal, and mutually-beneficial. We hope this will not be over-interpreted,” Geng underlined.
Yesterday, 22 July, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced through Fresh News that the dissemination of information on “Cambodia-China signing deal to use military base in the kingdom” is the worst form of fabricated news against Cambodia.
“It was the worst fabricated news against us. No such thing happens. Foreign military base is against Cambodia’s constitution,” Prime Minister Hun Sen told Fresh News CEO Lim Chea Vutha in an interview on Monday, 22 July.
The premier’s reiteration came after foreign medias baselessly accused the kingdom of signing secret deal with China over the use of military base at her coastal province.
“China has signed an agreement with Cambodia granting its military exclusive use of part of the Ream naval base near Sihanoukville”, according to WSJ’s article updated on 21 July 2019.
“Some details of the final deal were unclear, the officials said, but an early draft, seen by US officials, would allow China to use the base for 30 years, with automatic renewals every 10 years after that. China would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships, according to the draft,” it added.
Prime Minister Hun Sen questioned why Cambodia needs to have a foreign military base?
“We have never discussed such matter [setting up foreign military base] with Beijing, so it is pointless to say an agreement reached,” he clarified.
He urged that, “It’s time to stop using distorted news about China’s military presence in Cambodia against us.”
Constitution of Cambodia determines no foreign military bases on the territory.
Article 53 of the Cambodian Constitution stipulates that the Kingdom of Cambodia shall not permit any foreign military base on its territory and shall not have its own military base abroad, except within the framework of a United Nations' request.