Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Naval base relocation explained

Naval base relocation explained

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The new port at the Ream Naval Base will include a facility for repairs that is open to all. NCMS

Naval base relocation explained

The Secretariat of the National Committee for Maritime Security (NCMS) has reaffirmed its commitment to cooperating closely with all international partners to enhance the capabilities of the Tactical Command Headquarters (TCH).

The commitment was made in an official statement to clarify the recent dismantling of the TCH, located at the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province, which was repaired by the US. The TCH is slated to be relocated about 30km away to Koh Preap.

“The NCMS Secretariat is strongly committed to keeping and promoting close cooperation with all international partners with transparency and respect of mutual interests.

“The NCMS warmly welcomes the participation of various international partners to enhance future operational capabilities of the TCH,” it said.

The NCMS clarified that the relocation of the TCH to Koh Preab was chosen because the previous facility had limitations.

It said the old location had no docking facilities and limited potential to expand infrastructure. It also presented difficulties for non-military personnel to work in this particular restricted area.

The NCMS said as a national institution, the TCH requires an independent location which can facilitate and enhance its operations, interventions, and rescue efforts.

The TCH needed to develop its capacity through infrastructure and operational effectiveness and that could not have been achieved at its previous location.

The TCH was temporarily set up within Ream Naval Base in 2010, the NCMS said. It is an operational unit responsible for implementing multi-agency law enforcement.

Under a military programme in cooperation with international partners, the US and Australia provided support with small-scale infrastructure and training.

But these TCH operations have presented difficulties along with its success, which is why it had to be moved, the NCMS said.

It said the relocation was made after a study conducted in 2017. It also explained the reasons for the relocation to international partners, particularly the US, and has not received any official objection to the relocation plan.

“The new location on Koh Preab is favourable to address all of the aforementioned issues. The NCMS Secretariat is constructing a new TCH, which is larger in scale, and will avoid any detrimental impact on the support provided by its international partners.

“The new location will facilitate increased operational efficiency with its docking facilities, simplify liaison between relevant national institutions, provide freedom for further infrastructure expansion and promote cooperation with international partners,” the NCMS said.

Over the past few days, a US-based organisation and many foreign newspapers published a series of articles saying that Cambodia had dismantled the US-constructed building and that the expansion of the Ream port is underway with support from China.

However, the demolition of the building and the expansion of the Ream port were planned earlier. On June 1, Prime Minister Hun Sen talked about the development of this port when he inspected development in Preah Sihanouk province.

Hun Sen said: “The dockyard cannot be seen as a Chinese construction just because it is funded by China. Frankly speaking, we need Chinese financing to build it. However, we would welcome funding from all interested parties.

“On access to Ream Naval Base, I wish to declare that we welcome ships from all countries including the US, France, Canada, India, UK, Japan, Australia, and not just from China, to make port calls or to participate in joint exercises with Cambodia.

“It is baseless to assert that Cambodia has given China 50 to 90 years of exclusive rights to the base.”

Hun Sen said Cambodia welcomes all aid from various countries including the US, France, Japan and China to build the headquarters and develop the port.

The port expansion, he said, came because Cambodia had difficulty taking in ships for repairs from Thailand and Vietnam. When the port is built, it will have a facility for repairs that is open to all.

He said even if Cambodia received financing from China to develop the port, it will not allow a foreign army to use it as the military base in the country because it contravenes the Constitution.


  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four