WSJ: Secret Deal to Allow China to Station Troops in Cambodia
On July 22, the Wall Street Journal reported that China had signed a secret agreement that would allow its military to use a Cambodian naval base near Sihanoukville, a major port city. The reporting is based on interviews with U.S. officials who had seen the agreement, which has not been disclosed by either China or Cambodia. Under its terms, China will build two piers at the port of Ream, one for Chinese use, and one for Cambodia. Chinese personnel will reportedly be allowed to carry weapons, while Cambodians will require Chinese permission to enter the portion of the port designated for Chinese use. The immediate area around the base has seen a wave of Chinese-linked construction, including the construction of an airfield by Union Group, a private Chinese company with a 99-year lease on the surrounding land. The airfield is located in Dara Sakor, 40 miles from Ream. U.S. and allied counterparts are reportedly lobbying Cambodia not to allow Chinese military aircraft to use the airfield.