Chinese developer suspected by US of building army bases in Cambodia

Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base near Sihanoukville is allegedly being used by China

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against a Chinese company that it said to be responsible for helping to build military bases for Beijing in Cambodia, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The US suspects China’s state-owned Union Development Group Co. (UDG), which is developing the controversial Dara Sakor tourism resort in Cambodia’s coastal province of Koh Kong, of being responsible for work on a Chinese naval base and an airport.

US intelligence is of the opinion that a Cambodian naval base on the coast was being prepared for use by China, and an airport being built on the Chinese company’s land appeared to be designed to accommodate military aircraft in addition to civilian planes.

“There are credible reports that the coastal development project at Dara Sakor could be used to host China’s military assets, and if so, that would go against Cambodia’s constitution and could threaten Indo-Pacific stability, possibly impacting Cambodia’s sovereignty and the security of our allies,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on September 15.

Secret pact over use of Ream Naval base near Sihanoukville

In fact, there were reports last year that China has signed a secret agreement allowing its armed forces to use a Cambodian navy base, namely Ream Naval Base, a facility operated by the Royal Cambodian Navy on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand in the province of Sihanoukville, not far from Dara Sakor and the large airport currently being constructed there (see map below).

The pact – signed last spring but not officially disclosed by either side – gives China exclusive rights to part of this Cambodian naval installation.

The US Treasury Department said that UDG in 2008 acquired a 99-year lease from Cambodia’s government for the development of the Dara Sakor project covering almost 20 per cent of Cambodia’s coastline by forming a local company to become the leaseholder. The company later reverted to Chinese ownership, the Treasury Department said.

The resort’s airport would be prepared for use as a Chinese air base, US officials alleged.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly denied that he would allow any foreign power to use Cambodian territory for a base.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Washington “has repeatedly used unwarranted allegations that China’s relevant project in other countries could be transformed into military bases to discredit and attack our normal cooperation with relevant countries.”

He noted that “the US itself has hundreds of military bases in more than 150 countries around the world. This hypocritical and double-standard practice by the US is despicable.”

Locations of the alleged Chinese navy and air bases at Cambodia’s coast (Source: Indo-Pacific News)



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Cambodia's Ream Naval Base near Sihanoukville is allegedly being used by China The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against a Chinese company that it said to be responsible for helping to build military bases for Beijing in Cambodia, The Wall Street Journal reported. The US suspects China’s state-owned Union Development Group Co. (UDG), which is developing the controversial Dara Sakor tourism resort in Cambodia’s coastal province of Koh Kong, of being responsible for work on a Chinese naval base and an airport. US intelligence is of the opinion that a Cambodian naval base on the coast was being prepared for...

Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base near Sihanoukville is allegedly being used by China

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against a Chinese company that it said to be responsible for helping to build military bases for Beijing in Cambodia, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The US suspects China’s state-owned Union Development Group Co. (UDG), which is developing the controversial Dara Sakor tourism resort in Cambodia’s coastal province of Koh Kong, of being responsible for work on a Chinese naval base and an airport.

US intelligence is of the opinion that a Cambodian naval base on the coast was being prepared for use by China, and an airport being built on the Chinese company’s land appeared to be designed to accommodate military aircraft in addition to civilian planes.

“There are credible reports that the coastal development project at Dara Sakor could be used to host China’s military assets, and if so, that would go against Cambodia’s constitution and could threaten Indo-Pacific stability, possibly impacting Cambodia’s sovereignty and the security of our allies,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on September 15.

Secret pact over use of Ream Naval base near Sihanoukville

In fact, there were reports last year that China has signed a secret agreement allowing its armed forces to use a Cambodian navy base, namely Ream Naval Base, a facility operated by the Royal Cambodian Navy on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand in the province of Sihanoukville, not far from Dara Sakor and the large airport currently being constructed there (see map below).

The pact – signed last spring but not officially disclosed by either side – gives China exclusive rights to part of this Cambodian naval installation.

The US Treasury Department said that UDG in 2008 acquired a 99-year lease from Cambodia’s government for the development of the Dara Sakor project covering almost 20 per cent of Cambodia’s coastline by forming a local company to become the leaseholder. The company later reverted to Chinese ownership, the Treasury Department said.

The resort’s airport would be prepared for use as a Chinese air base, US officials alleged.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly denied that he would allow any foreign power to use Cambodian territory for a base.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Washington “has repeatedly used unwarranted allegations that China’s relevant project in other countries could be transformed into military bases to discredit and attack our normal cooperation with relevant countries.”

He noted that “the US itself has hundreds of military bases in more than 150 countries around the world. This hypocritical and double-standard practice by the US is despicable.”

Locations of the alleged Chinese navy and air bases at Cambodia’s coast (Source: Indo-Pacific News)



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The resort’s airport would be prepared for use as a Chinese air base, US officials alleged.

  2. quote from the washington post – Cambodia and China on Wednesday rejected U.S. allegations that a Chinese state-owned company was guilty of human rights abuses and corruption in its acquisition of land in Cambodia.

  3. just another right wing propaganda BS newsletter, anti-china – i though perhaps you were different.

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