China is building a naval base in Cambodia for exclusive military use. It will be the nation’s first military facilities abroad located in a strategic location in South China Sea, where it is involved in territorial dispute with Southeast Asian countries as well as the U.S. Quad, a security dialogue consisting of the U.S., Japan, Australia, and India, is moving to strengthen counterbalance against China’s growing overseas naval presence.
The Washington Post reported on Monday (local time) that a naval base exclusively used by the Chinese military will be built in Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base. It reported that a groundbreaking ceremony will be taking place on May 9, attended by Chinese officials.
The Cambodian Ream Naval Base is adjacent to South China Sea and Strait of Malacca. The Wall Street Journal reported that China and Cambodia had signed an agreement to build two additional wharfs in the base, of which one to be used exclusively by China. Currently the base has one wharf.
The agreement includes Cambodia’s recognition to base Chinese military forces and allow Chinese military ships to stay and store military weapons. It also says that China will use the base exclusively for 30 years and automatically renew the use every ten years. “Chinese
scientists, as well as military, will use the facilities,” said a Chinese government official, according to The Washington Post.
This will be the second overseas military base for China in addition to its first in Djibouti. China is planning to build military bases in Guinea near the equator of the Atlantic and the Solomon Islands in the Southern Pacific. According to the plan, China will have military bases that connects the Suez Canal which links the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, with the Gulf of Aden, South China Sea, and the Pacific. China’s actions are expected to raise tensions with the U.S., which has stressed last month to strengthen monitoring of China’s illegal fishing activities in South and East China and the Indian Ocean.
“China’s actions in South China Sea and excessive use of rights in other regions is raising alarms,” said a high-ranking U.S. defense official. Defense ministers of the U.S. and China have agreed to meet at the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore on June 11 and are discussing specifics of the location and time.