Cambodia: the regime’s base

A decision to reject a US offer to refurbish Ream Naval Base might hint at China’s influence but also domestic concerns.

Rumours of a Chinese military presence in Cambodia have again resurfaced following claims from a senior Pentagon official that Cambodia intends to host Chinese military assets.

This week it was reported that Cambodia’s Defence Ministry declined a US offer to refurbish a training facility and boat depot at the Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand. This comes despite Cambodia initially requesting the repairs during a visit by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph Felter in January. Felter has since suggested that Cambodia’s backtracking points to plans to host Chinese military assets at the naval base, bolstering the claim that Cambodia is a Chinese client state.

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