Phnom Penh (FN), July 26 – Former Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong expressed regrets over the fake news and fabricated report spread by western media, particularly VOA and the Wall Street Journal, speaking Friday in a meeting with Angela Corcoran, Australian ambassador to Cambodia, held at the Council of Ministers.

“I regret to see the Wall Street Journal’s fabricated report that caused confusion among the international community,” Hor Namhong stated.

“Cambodia has never signed any secret agreement with China for the use of military base. If it exists, it would be transparent to see. How could we hide a military base?,” he added.

VOA and the Wall Street Journal recently published a fabricated report, baselessly accusing the kingdom of signing secret deal with China over the use of military base at the kingdom’s coastal province.

“China has signed an agreement with Cambodia granting its military exclusive use of part of the Ream naval base near Sihanoukville,” according to WSJ’s article on 21 July 2019.

“Some details of the final deal were unclear, the officials said, but an early draft, seen by US officials, would allow China to use the base for 30 years, with automatic renewals every 10 years after that. China would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships, according to the draft,” it added.

Cambodia and China both denied signing the agreement. In response to such fake news and fabricated reports, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced through Fresh News on 22 July 2019 that the report on “Cambodia-China signing deal to use military base in the kingdom” is the worst form of fabricated news against Cambodia.

The premier also urged foreign media to stop using distorted news about China’s military presence in Cambodia.

“Cambodia does not need any foreign military bases on her soil. Cambodian armed forces are capable enough to protect our territory,” spokesperson Chhum Socheat stated.

Socheat also led a big group of 73 journalists to conduct fact-finding mission to the kingdom’s Ream Naval Base on 26 July 2019. Besides Fresh News, there are representatives of AP, Reuters, Kyodo News, VOA, Cambodia China Times, AFP, Xinhua, Cambodia China Friendship Radio, and Japanese TV.

Media representatives confirmed shortly after visit that there is no presences of Chinese armed forces at Ream Naval Base.

“What the western media published was politically motivated and a falsified truth about Cambodia,” they said.

A Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian also denounced a fake news published by the Wall Street Journal.

“It is a fake news and fabricated reports. China and Cambodia only have cooperation on military trainings and logistic supports and that such bilateral cooperation does not target any third country,” Wu Qian addressed to the press on 24 July 2019.