New Revelation of China-Cambodia Secret Visit Heightens Military Links Fears

On February 4, an Australian media outlet revealed new evidence of a previously undisclosed military visit between China and Cambodia that spotlighted defense links between them in areas such as military facilities and satellite navigation. The report shed light on some of the more secret components of China-Cambodia defense interactions and intensified the scrutiny on the two countries for the continued lack of transparency in security activities they are carrying out despite the wider regional implications they could have.

As I have noted before in these pages, the idea of a deepening Chinese security presence is not new, with China long being a key defense partner for Hun Sen’s Cambodia, including its top provider of military equipment. But over the past few years, China’s military links to Cambodia have been under increased scrutiny amid wider trends and developments, including Beijing’s cultivation of broader security partnerships in the region as well as evidence of specific manifestations of China-Cambodia defense ties such as access to Ream naval base, which would have wider geopolitical implications.

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