Phnom Penh (FN), Aug. 3 - Considering China’s purported interest in establishing naval facilities in Cambodia, “Cambodia Democracy Act,” which passed the House earlier this month, is detrimental to the national security interests of the United State, a licensed New York lawyer Christopher Beres, who is a former prosecutor reviewing the evidence against Kem Sokha, expressed his opinion on Forida Daily dated 31 July 2019.

“While there may be no truth to recent reports of a secret pact between the two nations to allow Chinese forces to use a Cambodian naval base, China’s aspirations to rule the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea are no secret. However, a naval presence in Cambodia could easily become a reality if the United States continues to shame and criticize the Cambodian leadership,” he said.

Christopher continued that, “The Cambodia Democracy Act was flawed at its inception. It is based on the ill will of a disenfranchised, illegal political party and the historical hatred of a handful of congressman for Cambodia’s prime minister instead of the facts. Moreover, its proponents fail to recognize it will have a negative impact on Cambodia’s emerging new leaders, some of whom may be targeted under this proposal.”

“Since the United States views China as its greatest existential threat and wants to defeat that nation’s economic and military aspirations, particularly in poorer nations like Cambodia,” Christopher said, adding that: “the Cambodia Democracy Act is detrimental to America’s national security interests.”

“Sanctioning Cambodia’s leadership will force them to get even closer to Beijing and ensure an even stronger Chinese economic, diplomatic and military presence in Cambodia.”

“The relevant Senate committee should be advised that Cambodia, being a sovereign nation, can do anything it wants with its territory. If Cambodia wants to permit China (or the United States, for that matter) to establish naval facilities on its territory, that is Cambodia’s prerogative under international law, notwithstanding the provisions of the Cambodia Peace Agreement or Cambodia’s Constitution which may be amended. This would be my legal opine in a nutshell if asked by Cambodia if it could permit foreign naval facilities on its territory. The United States should be courting Cambodia’s rising leaders and its present leadership, not sanctioning them,” he added.