U.S. Looks to Check Chinese Advances at Cambodian Naval Base

You can’t lay a string of pearls if you can’t get full access.

The Biden administration is continuing to push Cambodia for more transparency about China’s access to a naval base on the Gulf of Thailand after U.S. officials warned this year that both nations were taking extraordinary measures to conceal their involvement in the project.

For months, Cambodian officials have insisted to their U.S. counterparts that Ream Naval Base will be accessible for multiple nations, not just the Chinese, even while Chinese troops roamed the base in Cambodian fatigues. But with ties between Washington and Phnom Penh warming in recent months, there’s renewed hope at the U.S. Defense Department that Cambodia could honor that request.

Although Chinese construction on the Cambodian base—which appears to be expanding in recent months—has prompted debates in Washington about how important the location will be, China appears to be readying the area to provide access for larger vessels and is pushing other countries off its turf. The Pentagon has assessed that Ream Naval Base will be China’s first overseas base in the Indo-Pacific region, a watershed moment that could allow its navy—already one of the largest in the world—to expand its reach further toward the Indian Ocean.

In full: https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/12/05/us-china-cambodia-ream-naval-base/

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