Why the US has gone soft on Cambodia

Concerns China could gain a naval foothold in the country has caused Washington to rethink its previous punitive stance.

US-Cambodia relations are at their lowest ebb in decades over an anti-democratic clampdown, suspension of bilateral military drills and frequent gusts of less-than-diplomatic anti-American rhetoric.

But while the US has dangled sanctions and withdrawal of Cambodia’s preferential trade privileges in punitive response, signs are emerging that Washington is taking a softer, more nuanced approach to ease tensions.

The reason: reports that China has secured exclusive access to a Cambodian naval base, an alleged secretive deal denied by Prime Minister Hun Sen but if true would have big strategic implications for the region, including in the South China Sea.

In full: https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/10/article/why-the-us-has-gone-soft-on-cambodia/

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