Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Breaking news from Cambodia can be found here. CEO often finds Khmer news and translates it into English for our readers if it is interesting to expats, locals, Cambodians living abroad and anyone who wants to stay informed of the latest local and international news stories about Cambodia and our neighbors in South East Asia. There are many sources for Khmer news articles and they can all be found here in one place. Most of the media comes out of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Sihanoukville, but we cover national Cambodian news from all provinces.
User avatar
Brody
Expatriate
Posts: 6214
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:07 pm
Reputation: 6294
Location: Phnom Penh
United States of America

Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by Brody »

Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

https://www.yahoo.com/news/satellite-ph ... 32154.html
In just a few weeks this spring, Cambodia appears to have built two buildings at its Ream naval base.

The new buildings went up near the site of two US-built facilities that were suddenly demolished last year.

The work has fed rumors of a looming Chinese military presence in an important part of Southeast Asia.

See more stories on Insider's business page.

Two new buildings appear to have been built in a matter of weeks at Cambodia's Ream Naval Base, where that construction and demolition of US-funded buildings have raised concerns about a looming Chinese presence.

Satellite photos taken by Maxar and published by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative show land clearing beginning sometime after April 17, construction starting in early May, and the buildings finished by May 21.


The two buildings, both about 115 feet long and 20 feet wide, are located just north of the site of facilities built with US support that Cambodia's government demolished late last year.

Imagery previously published by AMTI, part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, showed that one US-built building, the Tactical Headquarters of the National Committee for Maritime Security, was torn down in September.

Another US-built facility, the Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat maintenance facility and a nearby boat ramp, was torn down in October.


The ongoing demolition and construction has fed concerns about a secret deal purportedly signed by Cambodia and China in 2019 that would allow Beijing to station military personnel, store weapons, and dock warships at Ream for decades. The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Cambodian officials, including Prime Minister HE, who has held power since 1985, have repeatedly denied such a deal exists.

In October, Vice Adm. Vann Bunlieng, deputy commander and chief of Cambodia's navy general staff, said a China-backed expansion at Ream was underway, with plans including dredging to deepen the waters around the base, which currently can only host smaller ships, such as patrol boats.

"The Chinese government helps us to build a port and repair facility for our ships," Bunlieng told Nikkei Asia, again denying reports that China's military would use the base.


Cambodian officials have said the tactical headquarters was being relocated in part so it can expand, but the island it is now on is "tiny," according to ATMI.

Cambodia's defense minister also said in October that the boat maintenance facility, which was completed in 2017, was moved to another location because "We can no longer keep it, and the building is already old."

"The breakneck pace of construction at Ream, lack of transparency, and shifting explanations from Cambodian officials continue to fuel suspicions that the upgrades there are intended for China's benefit as much as Cambodia's," ATMI said in its report.
'Serious concerns'
Cambodia Ream naval base
The US-built Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat Ramp and Boat Maintenance Facility at Ream Naval Base shortly after it opened in July 2017. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific/Facebook

The new buildings were completed days before Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman arrived in Cambodia on the Biden administration's first high-level trip to the region.

In a statement about the visit, the State Department said Sherman "expressed serious concerns" about the Chinese "military presence and construction of facilities at Ream Naval Base."

Sherman "sought clarification on the demolition of two US-funded buildings at Ream without notification or explanation and observed that a [Chinese] military base in Cambodia would undermine its sovereignty, threaten regional security, and negatively impact US-Cambodia relations," the department said.

A State Department spokesperson told Insider there was "substantial open-source evidence" that China is working on "a major renovation project" at Ream, "which credible reports suggest will include an area under the exclusive control" of the Chinese military.

The demolition of the US-funded facilities was part of that project, the spokesperson added in a statement. "Despite repeated requests, the Cambodian military provided no notification or explanation to the US government for this action."

The US has previously inquired about China's presence at Ream. HE said in 2018 that then-Vice President Mike Pence had sent the Cambodian leader a letter "regarding concerns that there will be a China naval base in Cambodia."


HE rejected the concerns mentioned in Pence's letter, citing a constitutional ban on foreign military presence. The US Defense Department raised the issue again in June 2019, after Cambodia suddenly declined US help to repair the facilities at Ream.

Pentagon spokesperson John Supple told Insider on Monday that the Defense Department was "certainly aware" of the ongoing work at Ream and reiterated the concerns Sherman conveyed to Cambodian officials.

"The United States has serious concerns about the People's Republic of China's military presence and construction of facilities at Ream Naval Base," Supple said. "We encourage Cambodia's leadership to maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy, in the best interests of the Cambodian people."

Cambodia is one of China's closest allies in Southeast Asia, and China has provided billions of dollars in aid as well as political backing for HE in the face of Western criticism over the Cambodian leader's authoritarian actions.

Chinese firms have also leased large plots of land around at Ream, including for a nearby airport that a Chinese company is building and for development of a tourist resort in a nearby coastal area, for which Chinese firms have been dredging and reclaiming land - work that could support future port infrastructure.

US officials have said an outpost in Cambodia would give China "a triangular perimeter" around Southeast Asia. A Chinese military presence at Ream could also give Beijing greater reach over important waterways connecting the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Other countries, including the US, have similar capabilities in that region, but greater Chinese reach in the area would concern neighboring countries, particularly India, which is wary of China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean.

This story has been updated with comment from a State Department spokesperson.

Read the original article on Business Insider
User avatar
Jerry Atrick
Expatriate
Posts: 2367
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:19 pm
Reputation: 865
Central African Republic

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by Jerry Atrick »

Lol, they pulled this tired old nag of a story out of the stable for another jog

I'm with Tea Banh on this one.

Geopolitical football this story
User avatar
John Bingham
Expatriate
Posts: 9424
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:26 pm
Reputation: 5029
Burkina Faso

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by John Bingham »

Talk about flogging a dead horse.
Silence, exile, and cunning.
User avatar
SternAAlbifrons
Expatriate
Posts: 4786
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:31 am
Reputation: 2815
Location: Gilligan's Island
Pitcairn Island

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by SternAAlbifrons »

You should have seen the spin some of the official US military media put out at the time - in their endless PR vids.
(lol. 5 minutes after they called the tourist jetty at Botum Sakor a Chinese naval base)

Cambodia Destroys US Naval Base
with shots of the Beirut fertiliser explosion.

US Angry: China destroyed its US naval base in the Cambodian sea
Cambodia Demolishes US Facilities
Terrible Shot : China navy detonated the US warships and military bases located in Cambodia

(direct quotes)

Why do they need to mislead and lie to their own troops?

It was not a naval base. It was a couple of small buildings donated to the Cambodian navy by the USA a long time ago - (lol, and probably bugged)
Since when the fuck does that become a US Naval Base?
:facepalm:

This might be funny - except if you are trying to be an allie of the USA in every war
thru every defeat and quagmire.
ffs. then all this BS becomes a little annoying.
User avatar
nemo
Expatriate
Posts: 985
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 6:34 pm
Reputation: 633
Cambodia

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by nemo »

You should have seen the spin some of the official US military media put out at the time - in their endless PR vids.
(lol. 5 minutes after they called the tourist jetty at Botum Sakor a Chinese naval base)

Cambodia Destroys US Naval Base
with shots of the Beirut fertiliser explosion.
US Angry: China destroyed its US naval base in the Cambodian sea
Cambodia Demolishes US Facilities
Terrible Shot : China navy detonated the US warships and military bases located in Cambodia
(direct quotes)

Why do they need to mislead and lie to their own troops?

It was not a naval base. It was a couple of small buildings donated to the Cambodian navy by the USA a long time ago - (lol, and probably bugged)
Since when the fuck does that become a US Naval Base?
:facepalm:

This might be funny - except if you are trying to be an allie of the USA in every war
thru every defeat and quagmire.
ffs. then all this BS becomes a little annoying.
Got a link for that?
User avatar
SternAAlbifrons
Expatriate
Posts: 4786
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:31 am
Reputation: 2815
Location: Gilligan's Island
Pitcairn Island

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by SternAAlbifrons »

Google those headlines on YouTube and you should find this BS no prob, Nemo.
US Angry: China destroyed its US naval base in the Cambodian sea
Cambodia Demolishes US Facilities
Terrible Shot : China navy detonated the US warships and military bases located in Cambodia

I tried to find the one with the Beirut fertiliser explosion shots but couldn't find it again in the first 5 mins.
You have my word - It used to pop up every time i googled something about the Cambodian Coast late last year.

Maybe they took it down because it was so obviously deceptive
or maybe it got drowned in the sea of hysterical propaganda and bullshit that these military media orgs pump out.

Infantile - if it was not so inaccurate, inflammatory and downright dangerous.
I thought it was the Commies that needed to rely on BS propaganda.
??
User avatar
nemo
Expatriate
Posts: 985
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 6:34 pm
Reputation: 633
Cambodia

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by nemo »

Youtube vids with computer generated voiceovers and pinterest links only.

Complete nonsensical propaganda.
Looks like anti China stuff from India,
You should have seen the spin some of the official US military media put out at the time - in their endless PR vids.
Not credible media sources at all. Not any official publications.
Makes me wonder how you could even find them.
Last edited by nemo on Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
CEOCambodiaNews
Expatriate
Posts: 44312
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:13 am
Reputation: 2746
Location: CEO Newsroom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Contact:
Cambodia

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

This topic has been discussed on CEO over and over. Does anyone have any new information to add ?

post486113.html#p486113
Would Access to Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base Really Benefit China?
https://thediplomat.com/2021/04/would-a ... fit-china/

A few threads on this same topic, 2020/2021 :
newsworthy/ream-naval-base-discussed-wi ... 31802.html
the-rest-the-world/china-defends-cambod ... 44973.html
darknet-cambodia-news/disappointed-camb ... 41630.html
general-chatter/cambodia-opens-the-way- ... 40962.html
Cambodia Expats Online: Bringing you breaking news from Cambodia before you read it anywhere else!

Have a story or an anonymous news tip for CEO? Need advertising? CONTACT US

Cambodia Expats Online is the most popular community in the country. JOIN TODAY

Follow CEO on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Google+
Instagram
User avatar
SternAAlbifrons
Expatriate
Posts: 4786
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:31 am
Reputation: 2815
Location: Gilligan's Island
Pitcairn Island

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by SternAAlbifrons »

I agree.
Maybe go tell the US Sec of State to drop it, News.
She rehashed it this week. And the OP.

Nemo,
You got me. I was wrong and i apologise to the official US military media.
I mistook names like US Military News for official publications.
If you look behind the BS flashy headlines and graphics they are full of footage that seems could have only come from official sources inside the US military.
But mea culpa
Good work in source checking - my big lapse in that dept.

I will make the point tho', that the constant barrage of Yahoo News reports (posted by the OP without any comment or discussion) gives a very distorted view of crucial strategic events in the neighbourhood.
It is this propaganda-like "Information" distribution that i was reacting to.

If anybody wants to discuss the latest developments on this issue after the Sec of State hammered it again this week - go ahead, I'm up for it even if "News" is trying to shut it down.

Discussion. it's important.
Posting one-sided news without comment, or arguing without conceding or learning a thing is boring. I fully agree.
User avatar
Bitte_Kein_Lexus
Expatriate
Posts: 4026
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 7:32 pm
Reputation: 1026

Re: Satellite photos show rapid construction at military base where US has 'serious concerns' about China's presence

Post by Bitte_Kein_Lexus »

115 feet by 20 feet? Wow, what are they supposedly storing? 2-3 Jetskis?
Ex Bitteeinbit/LexusSchmexus
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post