July 22, 2019

OH: Deal for Naval Outpost in Cambodia Furthers China’s Quest for Military Network. “Use of Ream naval base would help China’s military project power across a broad swath of Southeast Asia.”

The pact—signed this spring but not disclosed by either side—gives China exclusive rights to part of a Cambodian naval installation on the Gulf of Thailand, not far from a large airport now being constructed by a Chinese company.

Some details of the final deal were unclear, the officials said, but an early draft, seen by U.S. officials, would allow China to use the base for 30 years, with automatic renewals every 10 years after that. China would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships, according to the draft.

Military operations from the naval base, airport, or both, would sharply increase Beijing’s capacity to enforce territorial claims and economic interests in the South China Sea, to threaten U.S. allies in Southeast Asia and to extend its influence over the strategically important Malacca Strait.

China’s oil — and Japan’s — is shipped through the Strait.

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