Washington Post report on naval base in Cambodia was ‘disinformation’, Beijing says
Beijing has dismissed a Washington Post report claiming a secret Chinese naval base is being built in Cambodia.
“China and Cambodia are comprehensive strategic cooperative partners enjoying open, transparent, logical and legitimate cooperation in various sectors,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The joint work of Beijing and Phnom Penh has been “a good example of building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for humanity”, he insisted.
Unlike China, which has only one foreign base, in the East African nation of Djibouti, “the United States operates more than 800 military bases overseas”, Zhao recalled the briefing.
He also denounced Washington for having the biggest defense budget in the world; to be almost constantly involved in wars abroad; interference in the internal affairs of other nations; and the dispatch of military aircraft and warships “to flex the muscles at the door of other countries.”
“Who the hell is undermining global and regional security and stability and spreading disinformation? Anyone can say “ stressed the spokesperson.
Zhao also referred reporters to comments from the Cambodian Embassy in the United States, which called the report’s claims “baseless accusations motivated to tarnish the image of Cambodia.”
Ream Naval Base in the Gulf of Thailand is being renovated solely to boost Cambodian naval capabilities, the embassy said, adding that the country’s constitution prohibits it from hosting foreign military facilities.
The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing unnamed Western officials, that China was secretly working to build facilities for its military at Cambodia’s Ream naval base.
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The project was seen as part of Beijing’s efforts to boost its presence in the Indo-Pacific, which China sees as its “legitimate and historical sphere of influence”, the sources said.
Ream Naval Base is located in the western South China Sea, where Beijing has overlapping territorial claims with several countries.