China’s new naval base at Ream in Cambodia is well documented. It will provide the Chinese Navy (PLAN) with a base at the southern end of the highly contested South China Sea. The base is still east of the Malacca Straight which separates the South China Sea from the Indian Ocean, yet is still strategically important. And a key part of China’s construction of overseas bases.
However the base now appears even more expensive and capable than previous reports suggested. There is clear evidence of a new dry dock being constructed.
It is important to acknowledge that Cambodia has claimed that the rebuilding of the base at Ream, with Chinese Aid, is for their own navy. So it is possible that the dry dock is for the Royal Cambodian Navy, or even civilian use. However its size and construction make this a less likely explanation and few analysts are likely to accept it. Cambodia’s small navy barely has any naval vessels over 50 meters (164 feet) in length.