Since the beginning of this year media reports were indicating the Chinese aim of constructing an international airport in Dara Sakor as also a deep water seaport in the coastal area of Cambodia. Dara Sakor, a $3.8 billion China-backed investment zone encompasses 20 percent of Cambodia’s coastline. Tianjin Union- a Chinese company- controls this part of the coastline with a 99 year lease. It features phased plans for an international airport, a deep-water seaport and industrial park, along with a luxury resort complete with power stations, water treatment plants and medical facilities.
Crucially this deal reflects how China utilises its economic influence to get concessions in the South East Asian countries. There was no open bidding process and it was awarded at highly concessional rate to the Chinese Company even violating the Cambodian land rules. It was one third of the rate that Cambodian land law allows and the company was exempted from lease payment for a decade.