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Beijing downplays reports of ‘secret’ Cambodian agreement

24 July 2019
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The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has downplayed media reports claiming that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will be allowed to use part of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand as part of a “secret agreement” signed between Beijing and Phnom Penh earlier this year.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on 22 July that the deal gives the PLA exclusive access to part of the Royal Cambodian Navy base, which is located not far from a large airport being constructed by a Chinese company.

While some details of the final draft remain unclear, the newspaper cited unnamed US officials, who had seen an early draft on the deal, as saying that China would be allowed to use the base for 30 years, with automatic renewals every 10 years after that.

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