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U.S. calls Cambodia opaque over Chinese activity at navy base By Reuters

PHNOM PENH – Wednesday, the United States accused Cambodian of not being transparent about Chinese construction activities at its largest naval base. It urged Cambodia to reveal to its citizens the entire extent of Beijing’s involvement.

On Wednesday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies made available satellite images https:// that it claimed showed construction of three new buildings and a start to a new road.

Chad Roedemeier, spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia stated that any foreign military presence on Ream would be a violation of Cambodia’s constitution. This statement was made by Roedemeier.

“The government in Cambodia hasn’t been completely transparent about the scope, intent and nature of the project or the role played by the PRC army, raising concerns about planned use of the naval facility,” said he, speaking of China.

“The Cambodian people should know more about Ream’s project and have an opportunity to voice their opinion on this kind of military deal, which could have long-term implications for the country.”

In recent years, Cambodia’s relations with the United States were strained by U.S. accusations that its ruling party persecutes its opponents and worries about China’s increasing influence.

Cambodia claimed that it had demolished a U.S.-funded Ream naval base facility to make way for more expansion a year ago. The United States claimed that Cambodia declined its offer to fix the base a year prior.

Reports that China plans to place troops at the facility have repeatedly been refuted by Cambodia.

China would find this a major move in an area where the United States has maintained a long-standing presence with bases and joint exercises, as well as a strong regional presence.

Phay Siphan was the Cambodian government spokesperson and said that Ream’s Chinese construction was part its development assistance.

Phay Siphan stated that “our port will be open to everyone when construction is complete,” and added that China wasn’t building facilities for military use.

He said, “If you have friends that want to build, then we will allow it. When the construction is complete, all countries are welcome to use it.”

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.