Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base upgrade sparks worries of China link before US diplomat’s visit

A new port and a ship repair facility are likely to have been built just north of where US-funded facilities were demolished last year, a think tank says

The rapid construction of two buildings at Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, just north of where United States-funded facilities were demolished by Phnom Penh last year, has raised concerns that China stands to benefit from the upgrades, according to a Washington-based think tank.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), which is part of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said in a report released on May 21 and updated on May 28 that the new buildings appeared to have been completed just days before US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was due to visit the Southeast Asian country.

AMTI said satellite imagery indicated that land clearing began sometime after April 17, construction started in early May, and the structures were completed by May 21. The expansions likely included a newly dredged port and a ship repair facility built, it added.

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