Is China building a strategic foothold in Cambodia?

Joint military drills this month suggest the ties between China and Cambodia are growing stronger. Experts argue Beijing will use Cambodia as a conduit to further its strategic interests in the South China Sea.

China and Cambodia are capping off 15 days of military exercises on Thursday, which have included over 2,000 military personnel from both countries carrying out drills on land and at sea.


This year’s annual “Golden Dragon” exercises come after China has significantly helped upgrade Cambodian military facilities, including the Ream Naval Base, while providing new equipment.

When the exercises kicked off on May 16 at a Cambodian military base northwest of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian army’s commander in chief, Vong Pisen, publicly thanked China for the upgrade and equipment.

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