Cambodia will not allow any foreign military base

Prime Minister Hun Sen supposedly said Cambodia does not need foreigners to fight in Cambodian territory or be a place for ideology or weapon experiment. (Reuters)
Updated 19 November 2018
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Cambodia will not allow any foreign military base

  • ‘Does Cambodia need to violate its Constitution to allow a foreign military base on Cambodian territory?’
  • ‘With whom does Cambodia need foreign troops to fight with?’

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday there would never be a foreign military base in his country, following a news report that China was lobbying for a naval base in southwest Koh Kong province.
The Asia Times, citing unidentified diplomatic sources and analysts, reported on Thursday that Beijing had been lobbying Cambodia since 2017 for the naval base, which could host frigates, destroyers and other vessels of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
“Does Cambodia need to violate its Constitution to allow a foreign military base on Cambodian territory?” Information Minister Khieu Kanharith quoted Hun Sen as saying on Facebook during a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
“With whom does Cambodia need foreign troops to fight with?” Hun Sen said, according to Khieu Kanharith. “And I do not need foreigners to fight in Cambodian territory like in the past, nor does Cambodia allow her to be a place for ideology or weapon experiment,” he said.
The possible naval base is thought to be part of a project by China’s Tianjin Union Development Group (UDG), which began work in 2008 on 45,000 hectares of land in a national park for 99 years.
There has been little information about the $3.8 billion project or its progress.
UDG was also to spend $45 million on the port, which The Asia Times report described as a naval base.
Cambodia-based Sawac Consultants for Development, commissioned by Cambodia’s environment ministry, said the port would be able to handle up to four 20,000-ton container ships.
The port was guarded by Cambodian military and appeared unfinished when Reuters visited in June.
China, Hun Sen’s strongest regional ally, has poured billions of dollars in development assistance and loans into Cambodia through bilateral frameworks and China’s Belt and Road initiative.
The initiative, unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to bolster a sprawling network of land and sea links with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
It has attracted a flood of Chinese commercial ventures in Cambodia, including casinos and special economic zones.


Polish PM cancels Israel visit amid new Holocaust tensions

Updated 17 February 2019
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Polish PM cancels Israel visit amid new Holocaust tensions

  • Netanyahu made an off-hand comment last week during a conference in Warsaw that “Poles cooperated with the Nazis”

WARSAW: A Polish government official says Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will not attend a meeting in Israel starting Monday amid new tensions between the two countries over how to remember Polish behavior during the Holocaust.
Michal Dworczyk, who heads Morawiecki’s chancellery, announced the change of plans on Sunday.
Netanyahu made an off-hand comment last week during a Middle East conference in Warsaw that “Poles cooperated with the Nazis” — wording suggesting some Poles during the German occupation of Poland participated in killing Jews.
He was initially quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying “the Poles,” which could be taken as blaming the entire Polish nation.
Both Netanyahu’s office and the newspaper say he was misquoted in an editing error, but the Polish government said it was not satisfied.