Wall Street Journal: China’s entry into Cambodia’s base will hinder US military aid

The Wall Street Journal reported that China signed a secret agreement this year to obtain partial use rights of a naval base in Cambodia, which caused the US to be alert. US officials pointed out that if China slams Taiwan by force, the strongholds in the South China Sea and Cambodia may hinder the US military from rushing to Taiwan.

In July 2017, China set up a military base in Djibouti, East Africa, to facilitate the military operations in the Indian Ocean and Africa. Beijing continued to emphasize logistics functions and downplay the military intentions of this overseas base. In recent years, China has also built large-scale islands and reefs in the South China Sea to build military facilities such as deep-water ports and airstrips, regardless of the voices of neighboring countries questioning the militarization of the South China Sea.

According to reports, China signed a contract with Cambodia this spring to obtain exclusive use rights in parts of the Ream naval base in southwestern Cambodia. This base is located in the Gulf of Siam, and Chinese companies are building a large airport nearby.

The report pointed out that if China uses the Yunyang Naval Base to carry out military operations with its neighboring airports, it will greatly enhance Beijing’s ability to claim the sovereignty and economic interests of the South China Sea, threaten the US allies in Southeast Asia, and further extend its reach to the strategic route of the Straits of Malacca.

An unnamed US official warned that once China decides to commit crimes, the military forces deployed in Cambodia and the South China Sea will make the United States rush to Taiwan to become “very complicated,” because some US troops will need to take the Straits of Malacca or the South China Sea.

The final contract between China and Cambodia is not clear, but the US informed officials revealed that the agreement opened up China to use the Yundi naval base for 30 years, and then automatically renewed every 10 years. The draft contract states that China will be able to station military personnel, store weapons and park warships.

China and Cambodia officially denied relevant information, and the Cambodian government spokesman, Phay Siphan, refuted the “fake news.” However, US and allied officials said that although China could not establish a complete base in Cambodia, it is still China’s first naval-specific staging base in Southeast Asia and the second overseas military base of the Communists.

The Yunyang Naval Base covers an area of ​​190 acres (about 76.9 hectares), including two facilities funded by the United States and used by the Cambodian Navy. The terminal can be docked for more than a dozen patrol boats. According to US officials, according to the draft contract, China will build two new terminals in the region. China and Cambodia use one each and may dig deep into the port to facilitate the Chinese large ship to dock.

The focus of discussion among US officials is whether Washington can convince the Cambodian government to change its mind.

Some US officials and observers believe that the United States often criticizes the Cambodian government’s human rights record and “spends too many sticks in bilateral relations, giving enough carrots.” A senior Pentagon official said that the United States hopes Cambodia will become a “priority security partner,” but other officials said that Phnom Penh seems to have chosen to vote in Beijing.

At the same time, the United States and its allies tried to persuade Cambodia not to let the Chinese military use a Chinese private enterprise to build and lease for about 99 years in Dara Sakor, about 40 miles (about 64.4 kilometers) northwest of the cloud. Large airport.

Satellite imagery shows that the construction of the airport has progressed rapidly in the past year, and the 2-mile long runway has been formed enough for the Boeing 747 or the Communist long-range bomber and transport aircraft to take off and land. The US and allied officials analyzed that the construction unit seems to be preparing to build multiple corners to facilitate the rapid take-off and landing of military aircraft, especially fighter aircraft.

The report pointed out that military aircraft taking off from the Seven Stars Sea will be able to attack targets in Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

Chinese funds have flooded into Cambodia in recent years, and US Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen expressing concern about China’s plan to establish a military base in Cambodia. Hun Sen denied the plan in November last year. In June this year, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe denied the Beijing military establishment in Cambodia when he attended the Singapore Shangri-La dialogue.

Charles Edel, a senior researcher at the US Research Center (USSC) at the University of Sydney, who served as a consultant to the US Secretary of State, said that if China combines the Yuntian Naval Base with the South China Sea military facilities, it will form a triangular periphery that surrounds Southeast Asia.

Credit : https://www.cna.com.tw/news/aopl/201907220013.aspx

comment closed