Ream Naval Base Exclusively for Cambodia, Banh tells US Envoy

Defense Minister seeks to reassure US Ambassador about China’s military influence in the region, US hints at closer military cooperation with Cambodia.

Minister of National Defense Tea Banh on Monday (Sept. 21) told US Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy that Ream naval base will be used exclusively by the Cambodian navy.

Banh’s exchange with Ambassador Murphy came during a meeting earlier this week, where the defense minister claimed the Preah Sihanouk Province base is not for other countries, but will welcome any port call from any ship.

The base attracted international scrutiny last year when The Wall Street Journal published a story stating that China and Cambodia had signed a “secret agreement” that would allow China’s armed forces to use part of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base.

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