Dec 08, 2018 / 07:27

In Vietnam, PM Hun Sen says no foreign military bases allowed in Cambodia

The Hanoitimes - Vietnam and Cambodia targets to raise the two-way trade to US$5 billion by 2020.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has affirmed that Cambodia will host no foreign military bases as rumored because the country never seeks to use force or threatens to use force against its neighbors.

"I assert that this is fake news. This [military base] is not allowed in Cambodia's territory," said Hun Sen during a press conference after talks with Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on December 7 during his visit to Vietnam.

PM Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a joint press conference in Hanoi on December 7. Photo: VGP
Cambodian PM Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a joint press conference in Hanoi on December 7. Photo: VGP
 
If this "falsified news" continues to spread, it will cause not only concerns in Cambodia but also anxiety to neighboring countries and undermine regional stability, he said. 

The rumors that Cambodia will harbor foreign military bases along its coastal region has gone viral on mass media, particularly social media, and stirred public discourses at home and abroad. The US in particular has raised its concern over the possibility of China building its naval bases in Koh Kong province, according to Cambodian media reports.

Trade on focus

Hun Sen's visit to Vietnam is reported to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between the two neighboring countries. 

 
Cambodian PM Hun Sen delivers speech at the Vietnam-Cambodia Business Forum on Dec 6. Photo: Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh
On December 7, 2018, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Cambodian counterpart witnessed the signing of collaborative documents with a focus on transport sector – the key driving force linking the two economies. 

Accordingly, the signing covers five fields including (i) a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation strategies in transport sector for the 2018-2025 period and vision to 2030, (ii) a MoU on completion of negotiations on border trade agreement, (iii) a MoU on education cooperation, (iv) a record on the completion of 84% border demarcation and coming plans, (v) an agreement on disbursing Vietnam’s non-refundable capital in drug detoxification in Cambodia’s Preah Sihanouk. 

The two sides agreed to strengthen the cooperation in 22 dialogue mechanisms for further investment and trade. 

Vietnam and Cambodia targets to raise the two-way trade to US$5 billion by 2020.

At present, Vietnam is the second biggest foreign investor in Cambodia with registered investment worth US$3 billion in 200 projects.

Annually, the number of Vietnamese visitors to Cambodia hits 500,000, making Vietnam the second largest source of tourists for the country of temples.

 
Vietnam's investment in Cambodia for years. Photo: Minh Quang Vu
Vietnam is among the largest investors in Cambodia for years. Photo: Minh Quang Vu
Apart from economic ties, the visit sets the central point to multifaceted relations inclusive of politics, defense, and security to deepen the “comprehensive and sustainable friendship”. 

The governments’ top leaders agreed to hold a number of activities to celebrate in both countries the 40th anniversary of the end of the Cambodian genocide caused by Pol Pot-led Khmer Rouge regime (January 7, 1979).

The Cambodian genocide killed roughly two million Cambodian people between 1975 and 1979. The victory against the Khmer Rouge was largely thanks to the support of the Vietnamese military.