Vietnam says no to foreign military base

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Vietnam will not let foreign countries use its deep-water port in Khanh Hoa Province for military purposes, VnExpress quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying Monday.


The ministry's spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga issued the statement after several international news agencies reported that Russia is planning to set up a naval base at Cam Ranh Port.


According to Nga, the port has "the task of building and protecting the country" only, the news website said.


The Russian-owned news agency Interfax reported on Friday that the Russian Naval Command had completed a report underlining the importance of restoring its once largest base outside the country in Cam Ranh to fight piracy in the Indian and Pacific oceans.


"If a political decision is agreed upon, the navy will be able to restore the base within three years," the agency reported.


Located more than 300 kilometers to the north of Ho Chi Minh City, Cam Ranh is considered as one of the best ports in the world, thanks to its geographical position and its depth of 14 metres that allows the repair of large vessels, VnExpress said.


The port has been used for military purposes by countries like France and the US since the 19th century.


After the Vietnam War, Vietnam and the Soviet Union signed an agreement in 1979 that allowed the latter to use Cam Ranh for 25 years. However, in 2001, due to financial problems, Russia announced that they would not extend the deal and left the port one year later.


The Vietnamese government, meanwhile, in 2002 announced that it wouldn't let any foreign country use the port for military purposes. Instead, Cam Ranh would serve the Vietnamese people, it said.

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