HWZ Forums

Login Register FAQ Mark Forums Read

Breaking: PLA navy is coming, deal for 1st naval base in ASEAN signed

Like Tree7Likes
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 23-07-2019, 10:12 AM   #1
Master Member
coolant's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,405
Breaking: PLA navy is coming, deal for 1st naval base in ASEAN signed

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia—China has signed a secret agreement allowing its armed forces to use a Cambodian navy base near here, as Beijing works to boost its ability to project military power around the globe, according to U.S. and allied officials familiar with the matter.

The pact—signed this spring but not disclosed by either side—gives China exclusive rights to part of a Cambodian naval installation on the Gulf of Thailand, not far from a large airport now being constructed by a Chinese company.

Some details of the final deal were unclear, the officials said, but an early draft, seen by U.S. officials, would allow China to use the base for 30 years, with automatic renewals every 10 years after that. China would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships, according to the draft.


What do you make of China establishing its first military outpost in Southeast Asia? Join the conversation below.
Military operations from the naval base, airport, or both, would sharply increase Beijing’s capacity to enforce territorial claims and economic interests in the South China Sea, to threaten U.S. allies in Southeast Asia and to extend its influence over the strategically important Malacca Strait.

Chinese and Cambodian officials have denied there are any plans for a Chinese military base in the country. “Nothing is happening like that,” Phay Siphan, a Cambodian government spokesman, said on Friday. He called it “fake news.”

Naval Outpost

China's military will have exclusive use of part of Cambodia’s Ream naval base, U.S. officials say.

U.S. and allied officials, however, said a deal had been done that, while stopping short of a full-scale Chinese base, would give Beijing its first dedicated naval staging facility in Southeast Asia and a second outpost in what the Pentagon sees as a Chinese quest for a global network of military and dual-use sites.

Washington is “concerned that any steps by the Cambodian government to invite a foreign military presence in Cambodia” would disturb regional peace and stability, said Emily Zeeberg, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Surrounded by dense jungle and mangroves, and overlooked by a Buddhist temple, the naval installation in question, at Ream, covers about 190 acres and includes two facilities built with U.S. funding and used by the Cambodian navy, and a single pier where a dozen patrol craft dock.

According to the early draft of the base accord, China would build two new piers—one for Chinese use, one for Cambodian, U.S. officials said. U.S. officials said further dredging would likely be needed for the base to host larger Chinese navy ships.

The draft also allows China’s personnel to carry weapons and Cambodian passports and requires Cambodians to get Chinese permission to enter the 62-acre Chinese section of Ream, U.S. officials said.

Sihanoukville has attracted large numbers of Chinese tourists, and millions of dollars of investment, mostly going into casinos and beachfront hotels.
The U.S.-funded facilities at Ream are to be relocated to allow “further infrastructure development and security enhancement,” according to a July letter from Cambodia’s defense ministry to the U.S. seen by The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. officials are debating whether Washington can persuade Phnom Penh to reverse its decision on Ream. Some U.S. officials and analysts believe the U.S. wielded too many sticks in its relationship with Cambodia, frequently criticizing the government’s human-rights record, and didn’t offer enough carrots.

A senior Pentagon official said the U.S. wanted Cambodia to be a “preferred security partner,” but other officials said it appeared Phnom Penh had turned toward Beijing. There was no response to requests for comment from the White House.

U.S. and allied counterparts are also lobbying Cambodia not to allow China’s military to use the large new airport being built at Dara Sakor, about 40 miles northwest of Ream, by a private Chinese company with a 99-year lease on a sparsely populated stretch of coastal Cambodia.

Recent satellite images show that work has progressed rapidly in the past year. The site now features a 2-mile-long runway—big enough for Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s, and for China’s long-range bombers and military transports.

The images, according to U.S. and allied officials, also show what appear to be preparations for the runway turns needed for quick takeoffs and landings by military aircraft, particularly fighters. The company building the airport has said it is purely commercial.

Warplanes flying from Dara Sakor would be able to strike targets in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and elsewhere.

China opened its first military outpost abroad, in the east African nation of Djibouti, in 2017, to facilitate operations around the Indian Ocean and Africa. Since 2014, China has also built seven heavily fortified artificial islands—three with airstrips—in the South China Sea.

A Cambodian outpost would further cement China’s grip on a country whose authoritarian government is backed by Chinese loans, investment and diplomatic clout, as Beijing increasingly challenges Washington for economic and military influence across the developing world.

Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, in power for decades, denied there was any plan for a Chinese military base in Cambodia in November, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence wrote to him expressing concern over the issue.

Cambodian media quoted Mr. Hun Sen repeating that denial on Monday, saying his country’s constitution forbade the establishment of foreign military bases.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, at a regular news briefing on Monday, cited the fresh Cambodian denial, adding that China and Cambodia cooperated “in various areas” and that their cooperation was transparent.

Remote Coastal Airport

U.S. officials fear the Chinese-built Dara Sakor International Airport in Cambodia could be used by China's mililtary.

China’s defense minister denied in June that Beijing was establishing a military presence in Cambodia. China’s defense ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Until shortly before China opened its Djibouti outpost, which it calls a naval “logistics support facility,” Beijing repeatedly denied having any plans for bases abroad.

Combining Cambodian facilities with China’s military outposts in the South China Sea, “you basically have a triangular perimeter boxing in all of mainland Southeast Asia,” said Charles Edel, a former adviser to the U.S. secretary of state who is now an analyst at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney.

A Chinese presence at either facility would also “greatly complicate” the ability of the U.S. to come to the aid of Taiwan if Beijing decides to attack the island, a U.S. official said, as some American forces would arrive via the Strait of Malacca or the outer reaches of the South China Sea.

Ream has been embroiled in great power competition before, attracting both U.S. and Soviet attention in the Cold War.

The U.S. bombed the base at the tail end of the Vietnam War in 1975 after China-backed Khmer Rouge forces took power in Cambodia and seized a U.S. container ship. After Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978, the Soviet navy visited Ream repeatedly and helped repair and upgrade facilities there, deepening its waters.

Washington sought to rebuild ties with Cambodia in the past decade, resuming aid in 2007, carrying out joint military exercises and financing the Ream facilities. Tensions have mounted again as Hun Sen has tightened his grip on power.

China has made rapid inroads meanwhile, bringing in millions of tourists and billions of dollars of investment and loans; much of it is part of Beijing’s Belt and Road global infrastructure plan and focused around the deep-water port of Sihanoukville, about 10 miles from Ream.

U.S. officials said they first learned about negotiations between China and Cambodia over Ream about a year ago, prompting the letter from Mr. Pence.

Their suspicions grew early this year when Cambodia’s defense ministry first requested, then refused, U.S. funding to renovate the facilities at Ream, according to letters between the two governments seen by the Journal.

Recent satellite images show that an area inside the Ream base has recently been cleared in apparent preparation for construction work. A bridge at the entrance is also being repaired.

Meanwhile, a state-run Chinese construction company is working on Dara Sakor airport, which is due to open next year and will be Cambodia’s largest despite being in a province with a population of 200,000 people.

The Chinese company behind the new airport, Union Group, has said it is part of a $3.8 billion plan to develop the 36,000 hectares (89,000 acres) of land—including about 20% of Cambodia’s coastline—that it leased in 2008.

The company’s showroom in Phnom Penh displays plans to build five-star tourist resorts, golf courses, marinas, two container ports, high-tech industrial zones and a “new city” of luxury residences.

So far, however, the single casino and golf resort completed in 2014 has failed to attract many tourists. On a recent visit, seven of about 100 hotel rooms were occupied, staff said, and little progress has been made on other promised facilities.

Union Group representatives say they underestimated transport difficulties and believe the airport will bring in 300,000 Chinese visitors annually. Western officials are skeptical.

The Cambodian runway “seems far longer than needed for any normal commercial purpose or aircraft, and certainly longer than necessary for any tourist development envisaged there,” an Australian intelligence official said.

“We have some concern that China is using the same playbook used in the South China Sea, creating facts on the ground until such time that it is too late for anyone to object.”

Write to Jeremy Page at jeremy.page@wsj.com, Gordon Lubold at Gordon.Lubold@wsj.com and Rob Taylor at rob.taylor@wsj.com

coolant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:15 AM   #2
Arch-Supremacy Member
MyWill's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 10,566
Now now... Who said she will nvr have overseas military base? Who again? Cum rah, ibs lip lai defend new position.
MyWill is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:17 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 2,462
Tiagong sihanoukville is the top sleaze spot for tourists.

Like pattaya but worse because they have tiong gangs and casinos
Machinegunhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:20 AM   #4
High Supremacy Member
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 32,208
Good development. Lots of new infrastructures and job coming to Cambodia.
matrix05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:22 AM   #5
Honorary Member
satayxp's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 131,139
Usa has base in SG, so wats the problem ~
satayxp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:23 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 329
Soon those tiong agents will be unable to use those arguments in regards to America being the only country that has oversea bases.

Seeing that China has a habit of annexation, due to historical context. I will not be surprised if sometime in the future China would claim cambodia as part of China as it has bases there.

Even tibet was never part of China, but the PLA made the arguement that they were "Freeing the tibetian from slavery" in order to annex it. China is dangerous as they can make any bullshet claim to annex a country.

Good news is it is unlikely China will be allowed to park their military in singapore as the americans war assets are already here.
naveen99 likes this.
pieface is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:23 AM   #7
Great Supremacy Member
Alphidius's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 56,892
I thought Cambodia is landlocked right? The ships need to sail through the river?
Alphidius is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:26 AM   #8
Great Supremacy Member
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 73,444
we may get to see China's carriers!!
seek and destroy!!
tankgunner is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:27 AM   #9
High Supremacy Member
Shutterbox's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 33,162
If usa can have overseas bases, i can't seen y other countries cannot
Shutterbox is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:28 AM   #10
Arch-Supremacy Member
wixxxx's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 20,595
This only means that Vietnam will open the much larger and more strategic Cam Rahn Bay, the best deepwater shelter in SE Asia and site of former US & Soviet Navy bases to US sooner
wixxxx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:29 AM   #11
Honorary Member
mrclubbie's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 142,093
Scared what ? US has a few thousand bases around the world
mrclubbie is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:31 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,469
Good development. Lots of new infrastructures and job coming to Cambodia.
if you know the usual story, new infra and jobs are coming to cambodia, but most of them will not go to cambodian pple or firms, those working on it will still be tiongs and tiong companies
lifezard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:31 AM   #13
Supremacy Member
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,284
Expansion and dominance in South East Asia. Are we seeing the next Japan empire?
kyokoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:32 AM   #14
Arch-Supremacy Member
wixxxx's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 20,595
if you know the usual story, new infra and jobs are coming to cambodia, but most of them will not go to cambodian pple or firms, those working on it will still be tiongs and tiong companies
mostly casino-related jobs so far......mostly staffed by Tiongs too......

many ATBs roaming the streets as well......chiu guys should visit sihanoukville at least once.....
wixxxx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-07-2019, 10:34 AM   #15
Master Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 3,301
we may get to see China's carriers!!
Sail past little red dot together with their freighter.
Hahahaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Important Forum Advisory Note
This forum is moderated by volunteer moderators who will react only to members' feedback on posts. Moderators are not employees or representatives of HWZ. Forum members and moderators are responsible for their own posts.

Please refer to our Terms of Service for more information.

Thread Tools

Posting Rules

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On