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Hun Sen denies allowing China naval base

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen waves to his party supporters during the 68th anniversary for the founding of his Cambodian People's Party in Phnom Penh on June 28. Hun Sen denied reports he was allowing China to set up a military outpost in the country. (AP photo)

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PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday strongly denied that he was allowing China to set up a military outpost in the country.

The denial came after a news report alleged that the two nations signed a secret pact allowing Beijing exclusive use of a naval base on the Gulf of Thailand.

Hun Sen told the pro-government Fresh News website that the report by The Wall Street Journal was "the worst distorted news'', and that Cambodia had never discussed with China setting up a base.

"No such thing happens. Foreign military base is against Cambodia's constitution,'' Fresh News quoted Hun Sen as saying.

The Journal's report said an early draft of the reputed agreement seen by US officials would allow China use of the Ream naval base for 30 years, where it would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships.

China is Cambodia's biggest investor and closest political partner. Chinese support allows Cambodia to ignore Western concerns about its poor record in human and political rights, and in turn Phnom Penh generally supports Beijing's geo-political positions in international forums on issues such as China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, asked Monday about the Journal's report, referred the questioner to Cambodia's denials.

"What I want to say is that China and Cambodia are traditional friendly neighbours,'' he said. 

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Vocabulary:

base : a place where an army, a navy, etc. operates from - ฐานทัพ, ฐานที่มั่น

berth : a place or position - ตำแหน่ง

constitution : the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ

denial : a refusal to admit something; saying that you did not do something you were accused of - การปฎิเสธ, การไม่ยอมรับ

distorted (verb): changed something such as information, colour, etc. so that it is no longer true or accurate - บิดเบือน

draft : something, e.g., a written proposal for changes to the constitution, a law, etc. that may be changed before it is finished - ร่างกฎหมาย

ignore : to fail to pay attention to; to pretend that you have not noticed or do not know about something - เพิกเฉย

naval (adj): connected with the navy of a country - เกี่ยวกับกองทัพเรือ

pact : an agreement between two or more people or organisations in which they promise to do something - ข้อสัญญา, ข้อตกลง

personnel : the people who are employed in a company, organization or one of the armed forces - บุคลากร, เจ้าหน้าที่, พนักงาน

right : something that you are morally or legally allowed to do or have - สิทธิ

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