China Expands Overseas Naval Base on South China Sea

China is building a large dry dock at Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base on the South China Sea, which could one day accommodate its largest aircraft carriers, new analysis suggests.

Recent satellite imagery showed a sizable new dry dock under construction at the base, close to Cambodia’s coastal city of Sihanoukville, at a site where the People’s Liberation Army is suspected to be developing infrastructure for its warships and submarines, according to H.I. Sutton, an open-source maritime security analyst.

Sutton’s analysis suggests the scale of the expansion underway at Ream further confirms the likelihood of its use by Beijing once ready. Phnom Penh’s small navy has few naval vessels over 50 meters (164 feet) in length, he said, challenging Cambodia’s claim that the base was exclusively for its navy.

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