A lookout tower stands on the beach at Dara Sakor Seashore Resort in Botum Sakor district of Koh Kong, Cambodia. (Bloomberg Photo) SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia: Along pristine Cambodian beaches, past parades of elephants in the country’s largest national park, sits an area half the size of Singapore that is raising alarm bells among military strategists in the United States and beyond.Dara Sakor, a US$3.8-billion China-backed investment zone encompassing 20% of Cambodia’s coastline just 100 kilometres south of Trat province in Thailand, is unlike any other in the country. Controlled by a Chinese company with a 99-year lease, it features phased plans for an international airport, a deep-water seaport and industrial park along with a luxury resort complete with power stations, water treatment plants and medical facilities. The size and scope of the plans for Dara Sakor have fanned US concerns that the resort could be part of a larger Chinese plan to base … [Read more...] about Chinese mega-resort in Cambodia raises red flags
Chinese military bases
PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) - The US Defence Department has asked Cambodia to explain why it suddenly turned down an offer to repair a naval base, saying the decision had raised speculation of possible plans for hosting China's military. A letter to the Cambodian defence minister, seen by Reuters, reflects concern in Washington about the Chinese military presence in South-east Asia, where China is increasingly assertive over its contested claims in the South China Sea. The letter from Joseph Felter, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and South-east Asia, asked for more information on the decision to decline help to repair a training facility and boat depot at Ream Naval Base. "The notification letter of 6 June 2019 has been seen throughout the US government and is fuelling speculation that this sudden change of policy could indicate larger plans for changes at Ream Naval Base, particularly ones that involve hosting Chinese military assets," said the letter. It gave no details … [Read more...] about US presses Cambodia over possible Chinese military presence
Supreme Court Justice Antonio T. Carpio believes that it was not a collision of fishing vessels that happened on June 9 in Reed Bank (Philippine name: Recto Bank; Chinese name: Liyue Tan), 80 nautical miles off Palawan and within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone. It was a Chinese militia ship ramming a Philippine fishing vessel. “China’s maritime militia vessels have reinforced steel hulls purposely for ramming fishing vessels of other coastal states. No other coastal state has fishing vessels purposely designed for ramming other fishing vessels. Captains of ordinary Chinese fishing vessels do not engage in ramming for fear of inflicting damage to their own vessels. It is thus highly likely that a Chinese maritime militia vessel rammed the Filipino fishing vessel F/B Gimver 1,” Carpio said in a statement. The statement from Chinese Embassy in Manila insisted that it was "a Chinese fishing boat from Guangdong Province, China” and identified it as … [Read more...] about OPINION: Why is there a Chinese military vessel in Reed Bank?
Thailand’s foreign policy was hardly mentioned during campaigning for the March 24 election. That omission was unfortunate given that whoever comes to power in Bangkok will have to contend with the rise of China. It would have been nice to get some idea of where the next government will position Thailand amid China’s growing presence in the region and the wider world. Our pressing foreign policy issues are no longer traditional security threats but instead mega-infrastructure investments such as China’s Belt and Road initiative, and doctrine to defend free trade like Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. Yet looming behind those issues is a broader threat to the stability and security of our region. That threat is crystallised in a question posed by the Nikkei Asian Review yesterday: “A Chinese military base in Southeast Asia? Some say it’s inevitable,” reads the headline. The article notes that China has provoked international … [Read more...] about Are we prepared for a Chinese military ‘invasion’?
WASHINGTON: The US Defence Department expects China to add military bases around the world to protect its investments in it ambitious One Belt One Road global infrastructure programme, according to an official report released on Thursday (May 2).Beijing currently has just one overseas military base, in Djibouti, but is believed planning others, including possibly Pakistan, as it seeks to project itself as a global superpower."China's advancement of projects such as the 'One Belt, One Road' Initiative (OBOR) will probably drive military overseas basing through a perceived need to provide security for OBOR projects," the Pentagon said in its annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments."China will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries," the report said.That effort could be … [Read more...] about Pentagon expects China to add international military bases