The US says Cambodia “has not been fully transparent” about the Chinese project at the Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville. Photo: Reuters
The US has raised concerns over Chinese construction activities at Cambodia’s biggest naval base after a Washington think tank released satellite images showing what it said were new structures.
Three new buildings went up and a new road was being built at the Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville province during August and September, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said on Tuesday, citing satellite images from commercial sources.
The report by the think tank’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative also said other areas at the base had been cleared, potentially for more construction.
It said the purpose of the construction was unclear and there were “concerns that the new facilities are being built to facilitate a Chinese military presence in Cambodia”.
Read more ….
Update #1: Satellite photos show more construction at military base where US has ‘serious concerns’ about China’s presence — Business Insider
WNU Editor: The U.S. is concerned …. U.S. calls Cambodia opaque over Chinese activity at navy base (Reuters), but Cambodia is saying that there is nothing to be concerned about …. Gov’t debunks US claim about Ream Naval Base (Khmer Times).
As to what is my take.
China has always had close ties with Cambodia. But with Chinese naval bases only a few hundred kilometers away, I doubt that this Cambodian naval base will serve as a major base for China. I see this naval base upgrade more as a further cementing of existing diplomatic and defense ties between the two countries.