Recent satellite images taken of the coastal area around Sihanoukville, Cambodia, show a significant development of a China-funded naval base that would help Beijing boost its power projection not only in Southeast Asia but also the Taiwan Strait.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2019 that Phnom Penh and Beijing had signed a secret deal to allow the Chinese military to use part of the base. Phnom Penh has repeatedly denied the deal, saying giving a foreign country exclusive military access to the base would be in contradiction to Cambodia’s constitution.
In June last year, however, the two countries began a project to develop the Ream Naval Base, in Sihanoukville province on the Gulf of Thailand, with China’s funding.
Latest satellite pictures obtained by Radio Free Asia from the Earth imaging company Planet Labs show massive changes in the landscape, as well as new constructions and large-scale land clearance.
RFA Staff / Edited by Malcolm Foster