Cambodia and China on Tuesday, June 7, denied press reports that they had built a secret naval base for the Chinese navy, while Australia, expressing concern, called for transparency.
According to the American daily The Washington Post, citing Western officials who requested anonymity, a new facility is being built at the Ream base in Cambodia, strategically located in the Gulf of Thailand, and it will be “exclusiveUsed by the Chinese Navy. This rule has been a contentious issue between Cambodia and the United States for years. Washington has long suspected that the site is being diverted to serve China, which seeks to expand its international influence through a network of military bases.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhon refused.baseless accusationsFrom the Washington Post in a telephone interview with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, according to a statement issued by the Cambodian government. “Cambodia will not allow the Chinese military to use the site exclusively or turn it into one of its military basesCambodian government spokesman Faye Sivan told AFP earlier. Cambodia’s defense minister and the Chinese ambassador to the country will attend a groundbreaking ceremony for new facilities in Ream on Wednesday, including a new dock and a boat repair workshop.
China’s growing influence
New Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who is visiting Indonesia, called The Washington Post “worrying“.”We encourage Beijing to be transparent about its intentions and to ensure that its activities contribute to regional security and stability.He told reporters, adding that Cambodia had assured Australia that it would not give a foreign army exclusive access to Ream. Australia is increasingly concerned about growing Chinese influence and military activity in the Pacific region.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly said that work on Ream is merely a site upgrade, as well as the installation of a new boat workshop developed with the help of China. “Cambodia does not need a foreign army on its soilSame story in Beijing, he said last month.The conversion of the Ream Naval Base is only intended to enhance the capabilities of the Cambodian NavyChinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday.
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