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.


Canadian court frees Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer (CFO), is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 6, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Canadian court frees Chinese Huawei executive

  • A Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada said on Tuesday

VANCOUVER/BEIJING: A Canadian court on Tuesday granted bail to a top executive of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. while she awaits a hearing for extradition to the United States, a move that could help placate Chinese officials angered by her arrest.
Meng Wanzhou, 46, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, faces US accusations that she misled multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions.
Justice William Ehrcke at a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday granted bail to Meng, subject to a guarantee of C$10 million ($7.5 million) and other conditions.
China had threatened severe consequences unless Canada released Meng immediately.
A Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada said on Tuesday. The Canadian government said it saw no explicit link to the Huawei case, but analysts had predicted retaliation from Beijing. Two sources told Reuters the person detained was former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who now works for a think tank.
Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s former ambassador to China, asked by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. whether the Kovrig detention was a coincidence, said: “In China there are no coincidences ... If they want to send you a message they will send you a message.”
Meng was detained as part of a US investigation on Dec. 1 as she was changing planes in Vancouver. ($1 = 1.3317 Canadian dollars)