US Ambassador, Cambodian Defense Minister Hold Rare Meeting Following US Sanctions

U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy has held a rare meeting with Cambodia’s Minister of Defense General Tea Banh in the wake of sanctions Washington leveled against a Chinese developer operating in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Union Development Group (UDG)—which is building the U.S. $3.8 billion-dollar Dara Sakor project including a seaport, resorts, and casinos in Cambodia’s Koh Kong province —was sanctioned by the Treasury Department on Sept. 15 under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act for land grabs, rights abuses, and corruption in the country.

The Department also raised concerns that Beijing may be using the project to secretly build a naval base and airstrip for military use as part of a bid to secure its territorial claims in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

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