World View: Cambodia Denies Major China-Funded Seaport Project Is a Military Base

Cambodia is becoming increasingly Chinese and militarized.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has been forced repeatedly to deny that China is building a military naval base in Koh Kong province on the Gulf of Thailand. A naval base in that location would give China commanding control of the southern part of the South China Sea, which it currently is occupying in violation of international law.

China has long been Cambodia’s top provider of military equipment. For years, there has been a Chinese-built $3.8 billion land project in Koh Kong province in Cambodia along the Gulf of Thailand. The project began a decade ago, operating under a 99-year lease granted to China. The land project contains a deep-water port said to be deep enough to potentially accommodate not just container ships, but Chinese navy frigates and destroyers as well.

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