Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has dismissed a report that his country and China have reached a secret understanding that will allow Beijing a military presence in the kingdom as “fake news” — a move that would mark a significant projection of Chinese power into Southeast Asia, said the Financial Times.
Hun’s denial followed after the Wall Street Journal reported that the two countries had signed an agreement allowing China’s armed forces to use a navy base at Ream, near the city of Sihanoukville, for 30 years, with renewals every 10 years after that.
“Why would Cambodia need to have a Chinese military presence on our land?” Hun Sen said in an interview with the pro-government Fresh News website. “We haven’t had any discussion with Chinese leaders, much less signed any agreement.”
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