Cambodia’s alleged China military deal risks destabilizing regional order

Southeast Asia and beyond should voice concerns about Beijing's use of naval base.

Concern has again been raised over China’s ambition for greater military clout in Southeast Asia, following reports of a Chinese plan to establish a naval base in Cambodia.

Given that the step could seriously destabilize the regional order, the countries that would be affected should demand a satisfactory explanation from both parties and, if the reports prove accurate, insist that Beijing refrain from engaging in any disruptive act.

China and Cambodia have signed a secret agreement to create an outpost for Chinese military forces, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal last week. The deal is said to give Beijing exclusive rights for at least 30 years to part of Ream Naval Base, near the southwestern city of Sihanoukville, where it will be able to store weapons and moor naval vessels.

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