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China, Cambodia break ground on port, dismiss US concerns

KIFI

By DAVID RISING and SOPHENG CHEANG
Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Chinese and Cambodian officials have broken ground on a contentious naval port expansion project, dismissing American concerns it could provide Beijing with a strategically important military outpost on the Gulf of Thailand. The “modernization” of the Ream Naval Base will include a dry dock for ship repairs, an extended pier, a hospital, a workshop and a “reception building.” Longtime authoritarian leader Hun Sen in 2019 reportedly granted China the right to set up a military base at Ream, but has long denied that, saying Cambodia’s Constitution prohibits foreign military facilities. Following the ground breaking ceremony, the U.S. Embassy reiterated American concerns that a Chinese military presence at the base “could threaten Cambodia’s autonomy and undermine regional security.”

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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