China is secretly building a base for its navy in Cambodia, the Washington Post reported, citing Western officials. It is to be Beijing’s second military base outside the borders of the People’s Republic of China.
According to the American newspaper, the base is to be an enlarged Ream Naval Base installation on the Gulf of Thailand, until now serving as a port for Cambodian warships.
The added part, which will open on Thursday, is to be dedicated to the exclusive use of the Chinese army. The site will include the Beidou ground station, a Chinese alternative to GPS.
Despite the fact that the governments of both countries contradict this – Cambodia’s constitution prohibits the stationing of foreign troops – the newspaper reports that the information was confirmed by an anonymous representative of the authorities of the People’s Republic of China.
The base in Cambodia will be only China’s second such foreign military facility after the naval base in Djibouti, and the first in the key Indo-Pacific region. The construction took place after the Cambodian authorities destroyed two American-funded installations in Ream.
Washington Post: China tried to hide its involvement
According to officials quoted by the Washington Post, the Hun Sen regime made great efforts to conceal Chinese involvement and the presence of Chinese military in Ream.
This was due to both national considerations and the constitutional ban on such installations, as well as geopolitical issues in the region.
Cambodia holds the presidency of the ASEAN regional organization of Southeast Asian states, and despite growing Chinese influence, it had “enthusiastically supported” the idea of holding a special US-ASEAN summit in Washington in May.
Main photo source: East News