Cambodia cut from US military scholarship programme due to China ties

US deputy secretary of state raised ‘serious concerns’ over Chinese military presence and facilities at the Ream Naval Base at the Gulf of Thailand.

Cambodia is no longer included in a United States programme providing scholarships to study at elite American military academies, the US said amid its concerns over China’s military presence in Cambodia which have led to strained relations between Washington and Phnom Penh.

Arend Zwartjes, the US embassy’s spokesman in Phnom Penh, told reporters on Thursday that Cambodia lost its eligibility for the programme “following Cambodia’s curtailment of cooperation in several areas of traditional bilateral military-to-military engagement”. Asked for further clarification on Friday, Zwartjes referred the South China Morning Post to statements he had given The Phnom Penh Post.

Six Cambodian cadets currently studying at four US military academies – including the academy at West Point – on US scholarships will be able to complete their undergraduate programmes if they or the Cambodian government can pay for their remaining tuition fees.

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