Cambodia Says Naval Base Open For All, Not Just China

A coastline fit for diplomatic power plays sets off alarms in the United States.

Military bases are a touchy subject in Cambodia – never more so than in recent years given Phnom Penh’s cozy relationship with Beijing, which has alienated regional powers and the United States with its string of pearls strategy and expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.

Three weeks ago Washington upped the ante by sanctioning a Chinese company and a Cambodian general over their mistreatment of villagers at Dara Sakor on the country’s southwest coast, where a massive property development has been labelled a potential military base by many Western defense analysts.

This week, the focus shifted to the nearby Ream Naval Base, where a U.S.-built building has reportedly been demolished and slated for redevelopment as part of the government’s “Master Plan” for a maritime center based around nearby Sihanoukville.

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