Cambodian Naval Base to Test Hun Manet’s Relations With Washington

Satellite images confirm China-backed Ream upgrade is almost complete.

Cambodian-U.S. relations have steadily eroded ever since Phnom Penh went public in its support for Beijing and its foreign policy ambitions while hosting the ASEAN foreign ministers summit in 2012. This is one of the main issues that incoming Prime Minister Hun Manet will have to deal with.

Sore points have been many: a deterioration of democratic standards, jailing of dissidents – in particular the Khmer-American lawyer Theary Seng – and unsubstantiated allegations by outgoing Prime Minister Hun Sen that the U.S. had backed opposition plots to oust him.

And differences in attitudes between the U.S. and China were made all too apparent after ballots were cast at Sunday’s national election with Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulating Hun Sen on his victory in a poll derided by the U.S. as “neither free nor fair.”

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