Statement of Samdech Techo Hun Sen Regarding News about Cambodia’s Permission for Foreign Military Bases in its Territory Prior to the Cabinet Meeting [Unofficial Translation]

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Cambodia Allows No Military Bases in Its Territory

[…] I also received a letter from Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States of America, addressing concern that Cambodia allows a navy base for China in the future. Let me affirm to you compatriots as well as foreign friends that Cambodia has no need to violate its Constitution, which prohibits involvement in any foreign military operation, except those under the UN flags like the ones we are engaged in Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, etc. As I am addressing this issue to you, I will also write a letter to Vice President of the United States of America affirming the Cambodian position relating to its Constitution that is prohibiting foreign military bases in its territory – infantry, naval, and/or air forces.

Secondly, this news has brought about a question asking why there is a need for Cambodia to have foreign military bases in its territory. Cambodia has a sufficient force to defend its independence and sovereignty. There is no need for assistance from any military bases […] Cambodia has no need for foreign military intervention. With whom does Cambodia prepare to fight? Are we to fight with our people? With Thailand? With Vietnam? With Laos? It is a matter beyond comprehension. What intention do they have for spreading this kind of information? Are they just using presences of Chinese investors and tourists as pretext to find false with Cambodia?

Cambodia Is No Place for Ideological and/or Weapons Tests

I am so sorry to have heard and seen that some foreigners are trying to do bad things on Cambodia, who has not made such things. Cambodia has no need for any country to come and make war in our country. I do not need foreigners to come fight in our territory as it happened in the past. Policy of the Cambodian People’s Party, and particularly my political leadership, does not wish to have foreign forces present and fighting in Cambodia. Please do not make Cambodia your test site for ideology and/or weapons.

Every Countries in the World Are Friends

We consider every country in the world our friends and we are seeking their cooperation for development. We welcome foreign friends coming and helping Cambodia develop its economy. I wish to see our foreign friends come and compete with one another for the sake of Cambodia’s better socio-economic development. They should be helping us build infrastructures. If one country can build a road or a bridge for us, another could have done more. That is what we wanted. They should race for socio-economic development of Cambodia […] they are welcome. We invited them to do that. We welcome investments from every countries to Cambodia. We resolutely deny ideological competition that divided and/or killed Cambodians as in the past. We reject resolutely such competition to make Cambodia their test site for weapons and arms trades.

Cambodia Implements Independent Policy and Defends Its Sovereignty

I hope on this point the Cambodian people who might have received information from this or that press source, and our foreign friends who have concerns on this matter, to have trust in (the Royal Government’s efforts) to implement (policy of) independence and to defends our national sovereignty […] we welcome cooperation such as in form of military exercises – multilaterally or bilaterally, and in accordance with what Cambodia wanted as a host country. We conducted military exercises with many countries in the past for the sake of rescuing people from natural or major man-made disaster, and anti-terrorist training […] disasters would include moving people to safety from major disaster area caused by plane crash and/or sinking ships, etc.

Cambodian Troops under UN Flags; Presence of Military Attaches and Trainers

I reaffirm that Cambodia has since 1989 had no foreign military presence. It was a fact that there were foreign troops in Cambodia from 1991 through to 1993 in the UN peacekeeping operation in Cambodia. As of presence, Cambodia sends its troops (for peacekeeping operations) in foreign countries. I accept that there are foreign military personnel who are working as military attaches, trainers and/or trainees in Cambodia. There are no military staff as combating force. Some of them have been in Cambodia as de-mining experts and most of them are from India, France, and even the US […] we also have trainees in de-mining skills coming from Colombia, a country closer to the US.

News Are Fake and Deceptive

I reaffirm that Cambodia allows no foreign military – infantry, naval and/or air forces in its territory. We dismiss news that are fake and twisting the truth. I make it my confirmation officially today. I will write a letter to Vice President Mike Pence to clarify this issue. I will also meet the US Ambassador William A. Heidt for his farewell. I might be talking a few words on this to him. For the better reason, maybe I should not. That the news is already out there, I had better not say anything. I do not wish to have hard feeling when we are saying goodbye. I do not wish for a bitter dialogue before his departure. I think Ambassador Heidt also knows Khmer. He could as well read my statement. I am sending best wishes to our compatriots for the coming water festival in the day after tomorrow. Thank You./.