US, China tensions put Cambodia in potential peril

US concerns about an emerging China-backed facility in Cambodia could put the nation in the middle of an emerging new Cold War.

In a now common refrain, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe publicly denied at a recent defense forum that Beijing intends to build a naval base in Cambodia.

It was Beijing’s latest response to widespread speculation that a China-backed eco-tourism project in Cambodia’s coastal Koh Kong province is secretly designed to have military purposes.

“There is no such thing as for China to establish its military presence in Cambodia. There is no such thing out there,” said Wei at the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore last weekend, an event also attended by Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh.

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