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.


At least 11 dead in Taliban attack on Afghan police HQ

Updated 18 July 2019
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At least 11 dead in Taliban attack on Afghan police HQ

  • The assault comes amid a series of peace talks between Washington and the Taliban that both sides say are making progress
  • 11 people had been killed, including nine civilians and two police officers

KANDAHAR: At least 11 people were killed and scores more wounded Thursday when the Taliban attacked a police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar, officials and the insurgents said.
The assault comes amid a series of peace talks between Washington and the Taliban that both sides say are making progress, but which so far have yielded no reduction in violence in the gruelling Afghan conflict.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said the afternoon attack in Afghanistan’s second-largest city started with a car bomb, then saw gunmen storm the police compound.
“A number of mujahideen equipped with heavy and small arms breached the headquarters and launched their operations inside,” he said.
Baheer Ahmadi, the Kandahar governor’s spokesman, said in a statement that 11 people had been killed, including nine civilians and two police officers, while another 80 — including women and children — were wounded.
He earlier had given a toll of 12 dead.
Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said eight attackers were involved. Two blew themselves up, while the remaining six were “cornered in a building.”
Hayatullah Hayat, the provincial governor for Kandahar, said Afghan security forces had launched a “clean-up operation” to see if any attackers were remaining.
“The fighting is over now. Some vehicles were burnt. Now the Afghan army and US helicopters are hovering in the area,” police chief Tadin Khan told AFP.
Pictures on social media showed a huge plume of smoke rising over Kandahar, and Hayat said about six trucks carrying commercial goods had burnt.
The assault comes just one day after two Afghan soldiers — who were really Taliban operatives — fatally shot an Afghan colonel in Ghazni province.