President Joe Biden on Saturday urged Cambodian counterparts to ensure “full transparency” regarding China’s military activities at Reem Naval Base on Cambodia’s southern coast. White House Said.
Biden met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who also heads the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on the sidelines of a regional summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Saturday.
“I would like to thank Cambodia for its clear condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and for your leadership in ASEAN during one of its most difficult times,” Biden said at the meeting.
I met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss Cambodia’s leadership in ASEAN in this difficult year. I also reiterated America’s commitment to the Cambodian people and their desire for a more prosperous, democratic, and independent country. pic.twitter.com/zm55XN3YgW
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 12, 2022
Biden has urged President Hun Sen to “reopen the civic and political arena ahead of the 2023 elections,” urging politically-motivated officials, including Theary Sen, who was jailed on treason charges in June. He called for the release of activists detained on suspicion of
The president also expressed concern about China’s military activities at Leam Naval Base and called for full transparency. White House.
China’s military presence
The United States had asked Cambodia to provide transparency about China’s role in the Cambodian naval base after reports that new facilities were being built for the “exclusive use” of the Chinese military.
Cambodia’s Defense Minister Thea Bain said on June 9 that China had funded the modernization of the United Nations naval base, but that the upgrade was for Cambodia’s national defense, not the Chinese military.
“Reem Naval Base is small and needs to be upgraded to protect its country, territory and sovereignty.” Khmer Times report. He said the upgrades included refurbishing the drydock, pier and slipway.
Chinese Ambassador Wang Wentian said at the landmark event that the base upgrade “is not aimed at a third party and will serve closer substantive cooperation between the two militaries.”
The Chinese military will build three new buildings in Riem in August and September 2022, according to the report. satellite image Announced on October 12, 2021 by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, a US think tank.
The Pentagon said in its 2021 report (pdf) Cambodia demolished two U.S.-funded facilities in Leam after rejecting Washington’s offer to pay for the renovation of one of the facilities. People’s Republic of China.
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters On June 6, it said China’s exclusive military presence in Ream could threaten Cambodia’s autonomy and undermine regional security.
“We and countries in the region have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency about the intent, nature and scope of this project and the role the Chinese military is playing in the construction and post-construction use of the facility,” it said. Price said.