Philip Lenczycki on June 7, 2022
The Chinese military will reportedly begin building a base in the Gulf of Thailand this week, The Washington Post reported Monday.
China is allegedly holding a groundbreaking ceremony for a new naval facility on Thursday in the northern portion of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post. When completed, the approximately 75-acre naval facility will become China’s first military base in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We assess that the Indo-Pacific is an important piece for China’s leaders, who see the Indo-Pacific as China’s rightful and historic sphere of influence,” an anonymous official told The Washington Post. “They view China’s rise there as part of a global trend toward a multipolar world where major powers more forcefully assert their interests in their perceived sphere of influence.”
In 2019, China and Cambodia denied signing a deal to allow the construction of the alleged Chinese naval facility, The Wall Street Journal reported. Cambodia paved the way for the Chinese military installation by demolishing two U.S.-funded facilities on Ream Naval Base in 2020, according to a 2021 Department of Defense report.
China’s purported groundbreaking ceremony follows little more than a week after Beijing failed to ink a security pact with 10 Pacific countries that, in part, would have established Chinese-funded police training academies on the island nations, according to BBC News.
The Chinese Embassy referred The Daily Caller News Foundation to statements made by Zhao Lijian, China’s deputy director of Foreign Affairs, during a press conference on Tuesday.
“Cambodia’s constitution does not permit foreign military bases on Cambodian soil,” Zhao said. “The renovation of the base serves solely to strengthen the Cambodian naval capacities to protect its maritime integrity and combat maritime crimes.”
The Cambodian Embassy, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense did not respond immediately to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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