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Photos show Chinese warships docked at expanded naval base in Cambodia

Dec 07, 2023

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The Chinese navy, the world’s largest by number of ships, is expanding its reach. For the first time, Chinese warships were seen docking at the Ream Naval Base in Cambodia.

We and countries in the region have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency on the intent, the nature, the scope of this project.

Ned Price, State Department spokesperson

The newly expanded base, which boasts a pier large enough for an aircraft carrier, is serving as a strategic outpost near the South China Sea for Beijing.

The U.S. State Department sounded the alarm about the base back in June of 2022. According to the State Department, Cambodia allowing the People’s Liberation Army Navy to operate from a base in the Gulf of Thailand is concerning because it means the further expansion of a Chinese military.

“An exclusive PRC military presence at Ream could threaten Cambodia autonomy and undermine regional security as well,” said Ned Price, State Department spokesperson. “We and countries in the region have expressed concerns about the lack of transparency on the intent, the nature, the scope of this project.”

Cambodia’s defense minister posted pictures of the Chinese warships docked at Ream on his Facebook page. The post included shots of Cambodian officials with the Chinese ambassador and at least two Chinese warships.

The docking of the two ships coincides with an official Cambodian visit by a top Chinese defense official as well.

The fear about China having a base in Cambodia isn’t just about the Chinese military expanding its reach, it’s also about the resources the Ream Naval Base will provide, like dry docks.

Dry docks could help repair ships that may get damaged in any military operations that may occur in the South China Sea or the Gulf of Thailand.

Satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press suggest the Chinese ships docked in Cambodia may be Type 56 Chinese Corvettes, popular warships used by the Chinese navy.

In a post on Telegram, Cambodia’s prime minister said China’s visit was meant to discuss the continuation of military cooperation between the two countries.

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[Ryan Robertson]

THE WORLD’S LARGEST NAVY–BY NUMBER OF SHIPS– IS EXPANDING ITS REACH.

FOR THE FIRST TIME,  CHINESE WARSHIPS WERE SEEN DOCKING AT THE REAM NAVAL BASE IN CAMBODIA.

THE NEWLY EXPANDED BASE, WHICH BOASTS A PIER LARGE ENOUGH FOR AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER–IS SERVING AS A STRATEGIC OUTPOST NEAR THE SOUTH CHINA SEA FOR BEIJING.

THE US STATE DEPARTMENT SOUNDED THE ALARM ABOUT THE BASE BACK IN JUNE OF 20-22. CAMBODIA ALLOWING THE PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY NAVY TO OPERATE FROM A BASE IN THE GULF OF THAILAND IS CONCERNING, ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT, BECAUSE IT MEANS THE FURTHER EXPANSION OF A CHINESE MILITARY HELLBENT ON IMPOSING ITS WILL IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS.

Ned Price, State Department spokesperson: “AN EXCLUSIVE PRC MILITARY PRESENCE AT REAM COULD THREATEN CAMBODIA AUTONOMY AND UNDERMINE REGIONAL SECURITY AS WELL. WE AND COUNTRIES IN THE REGION HAVE EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT THE LACK OF TRANSPARENCY ON THE INTENT, THE NATURE, THE SCOPE OF THIS PROJECT.”

[Ryan Robertson]

CAMBODIA’S DEFENSE MINISTER POSTED PICTURES ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE OF THE PLAN SHIPS DOCKING AT REAM. 

THE POST INCLUDED SHOTS OF CAMBODIAN OFFICIALS WITH THE CHINESE AMBASSADOR, AND AT LEAST TWO CHINESE WARSHIPS.

THE DOCKING OF THE TWO SHIPS COINCIDES WITH AN OFFICIAL CAMBODIAN VISIT BY A TOP CHINESE DEFENSE OFFICIAL AS WELL

WE’VE REPORTED ON THIS BEFORE….BUT THE BIG FEAR ABOUT CHINA HAVING A BASE IN CAMBODIA ISN’T JUST ABOUT THE PLAN EXPANDING ITS REACH–BUT ALSO ABOUT THE RESOURCES THE REAM NAVAL BASE WILL PROVIDE IT….THINGS LIKE DRY DOCKS, WHICH ARE USEFUL IF YOU NEED TO REPAIR SHIPS DAMAGED BY, SAY….COMBAT IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA OR THE BAY OF THAILAND.

SATELLITE IMAGES ANALYZED SUGGEST THE CHINESE SHIPS DOCKED IN CAMBODIA MAY BE TYPE 56 CHINESE CORVETTES. A POPULAR PLAN WARSHIP

IN A POST ON TELEGRAM–CAMBODIA’S PRIME MINISTER SAID CHINA’S VISIT WAS MEANT TO  DISCUSS THE CONTINUATION OF MILITARY COOPERATION BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES.