China-aided renovation kicks off in Cambodia's Ream Naval Base, Ambassador slams Western speculation
Published: Jun 08, 2022 06:05 PM
Photo: The website of the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia

Photo: The website of the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia

The China-assisted renovation of the Cambodia's Ream Naval Base does not target any third party and China firmly opposes some countries' moves to smear normal exchanges between Cambodia and China, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian said Wednesday amid Western media reports that said China is building a military base in Cambodia.     

Wang made the remarks at a ceremony held on Wednesday for the start of the renovation of the Ream Naval Base, which was attended by more than 2,000 representatives from both sides, according to the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia.

Wang noted at the ceremony that the renovation project is an achievement of mutual respect and equal communication between China and Cambodia. It conforms with international laws and practices and does not target any third party, he noted.

After completion, the project will have significantly modernized the Cambodian naval capacities and enhanced the capacities of the whole Cambodian military to protect the country's integrity, Wang said, noting that the Chinese military would continue to provide assistance to the Cambodian side and promote the two countries' military cooperation. 

Wang noted that some countries have been criticizing and smearing normal cooperation between China and Cambodia and launched unilateral sanctions on Cambodia, rudely interfering in Cambodia's domestic affairs under the disguise of democracy and human rights protection. 

"China strongly opposes this attitude," Wang stressed. He said that China has gained valuable experiences from 30-year cooperation with ASEAN members, including insisting on union and cooperation while opposing confrontations, noting that unilateralism and extreme egoism are counterproductive.  

Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Tea Banh also attended the ceremony. He appreciated China's assistance to the renovation project. He noted that the project would help Cambodia to enhance cooperation with friendly countries and help maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity.  

The Washington Post, citing unnamed Western officials, reported on Monday that China is secretly building a naval facility on the northern portion of Cambodia's Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand for the exclusive use of its military.

The Cambodian Embassy in Washington has refuted such claim in a statement to The Washington Post, saying that it "strongly disagrees with the content and meaning of the report as it is a baseless accusation motivated to negatively frame Cambodia's image." 

The Cambodian embassy added that Cambodia "firmly adheres" to the nation's constitution, which does not permit foreign military bases or presence on Cambodian soil. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also slammed the report at a press conference on Tuesday. He said that Cambodia had already replied to such incorrect US report, but the US side turned a deaf ear to its explanation and, instead, continued to make malicious speculations, smear and attack and even threatened to suppress Cambodia over the issue, noting that this is typical bully behavior.

Global Times